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Vestibular-Evoked Myogenic Potentials in Microgravity (VEMP)
Principal Investigator
Research Area:
Sensorimotor Adaptation Team
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Homo sapiens Species: Human

This study aimed to investigate adaptive changes in otolith function using vestibular-evoked myogenic potentials (VEMPs) during and following long-duration space flight. Vestibular-evoked myogenic potentials are short latency vestibular reflexes recorded from neck or extraocular muscles in humans. The ocular VEMPs recorded from eye muscles reflect utricular-ocular reflex function, while cervical VEMPs recorded from contracted neck muscles reflect saccular-spinal reflex function. Given that there is an off-loading of the otolith organs in microgravity, the investigators hypothesized that neurosensory adaptation will involve changes in sensitivity of otolith function as reflected by VEMP response amplitudes and thresholds. They also predicted that exposure to microgravity will reveal asymmetries in otolith function that vary with motion sickness severity in the astronaut population.

The specific aims were to assess pre-, in- and post flight changes in otolith sensitivity, asymmetry, and function; and to compare cervical VEMP, ocular VEMP methods using both vibration and auditory stimuli to assess utricular and saccular function in different postures.

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Functional Brain Activation in Response to a Clinical Vestibular Test Correlates with Balance. Noohi F, Kinnaird C, DeDios Y, Kofman IS, Wood S, Bloomberg J, Mulavara A, and Seidler R. Frontiers Systems Neuroscience. 2017. March; 10;11:11. [DOI]

Vestibular function tests
Otolith function

Data Information
Data Availability
Archive is complete. Data sets are not publicly available but can be requested.
Data Sets+ Request data

Left-right ear asymmetry ratios
Muscle activity response amplitudes
Saccular-spinal reflex
Stimulus level threshold
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Mission/Study Information
Mission Launch/Start Date Landing/End Date Duration
Ground 05/01/2009 In Progress

Additional Information
Managing NASA Center
Johnson Space Center (JSC)
Responsible NASA Representative
Johnson Space Center LSDA Office
Project Manager: Pamela A. Bieri
Institutional Support
European Space Agency (ESA)
Proposal Date
Proposal Source