Gap SM-104: Evaluate how weightlessness-induced changes in sensorimotor/vestibular function relate to and/or interact with changes in other brain functions (sleep, cognition, attention).
Last Published:  07/30/21 01:05:31 PM (Central)
Responsible Element: Human Health Countermeasures (HHC)
Status: Open
Description
Changes in brain structure and function may play a direct role in spaceflight-associated sensorimotor deficits, and further may impact the long-term health of astronauts. Previous studies have identified brain structural changes associated with exposure to spaceflight. Changes in cognition, specifically during dual-tasking and spatial navigation, may be greatest during and shortly following G-transitions when vestibular and sensorimotor alterations are greatest.

Research approach: Standardizing data collection across HRP Elements and cross-cutting projects will result in evidence-based standards that account for multiple contributing factors (e.g., changes in muscle strength, orthostatic intolerance and CNS due to radiation). Research should capture G-transition decrements and temporal recovery brain functions (sleep, cognition, attention) and relate these to corresponding changes in vestibular and sensorimotor function. This includes structural and physiological changes in the vestibular periphery as well as mapping changes in brain function with functional task tests. Research is also needed to address how partial gravity environments will impact risk, either by reducing the magnitude of the G-transition, or directly impacting performance through changes in physiologic demands (e.g., changes in thresholds).  Data mining of Shuttle, ISS, and bedrest data, data collection from upcoming bedrest, Gateway and Lunar studies.
Target for Closure
Define the magnitude of change and time course of recovery, and how these impact critical mission tasks (e.g., define the incidence of motion sickness following landing and how this impacts the crewmember’s ability to accomplish critical tasks). Define how the risk (likelihood and severity) varies as a function of microgravity transit time, magnitude of G transition, and other contributing factors (prior experience, biomarkers, space radiation). Results/deliverables:  Understanding the potential interaction between vestibular and sensorimotor alterations with changes to various brain functions.
Mappings
Risk Risk of Altered Sensorimotor/Vestibular Function Impacting Critical Mission Tasks
You are here! Gap SM-104: Evaluate how weightlessness-induced changes in sensorimotor/vestibular function relate to and/or interact with changes in other brain functions (sleep, cognition, attention).
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