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The Effects of Long-Duration Space Flight on Eye, Head, and Trunk Coordination During Locomotion (9307191)
Research Area:
Exercise physiology
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Homo sapiens Species: Human

Significant locomotor and postural equilibrium disturbances frequently occur following space flight and have been reported by both the U.S. and Russian space programs. The general overriding objective of this investigation was to understand the underlying sensorimotor adaptive alterations that contribute to these postflight locomotor disturbances. Previous investigations typically assessed how specific sensorimotor subsystems, such as vestibulo-ocular and otolith-spinal reflexes, function during the process of adaptation to weightlessness and readaptation to 1-G. However, little documentation exists of changes in the strategies used for coordination among these subsystems.

This experiment was designed to determine if extended exposure to the microgravity environment encountered during long-duration space flight adaptively modified eye and head control mechanisms required to maintain gaze stability during terrestrial locomotion; and determine if head-trunk coordination strategies that occur during terrestrial locomotion were modified following extended duration space flight and to determine if these changes were associated with disturbances in lower limb kinematics and muscle activity patterns of the leg during locomotion.

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Bloomberg JJ, Mulavara AP. Changes in walking strategies after spaceflight. IEEE Eng Med Biol Mag. 2003 Mar-Apr; 22(2):58-62.[]

Bloomberg JJ, Peters BT, Smith SL, Huebner WP, Reschke MF. Locomotor head-trunk coordination strategies following space flight. Journal of Vestibular Research. 1997 Mar-Jun;7(2-3):161-77.[]

Layne CS, Lange GW, Pruett CJ, McDonald PV, Merkle LA, Mulavara AP, et al. Adaptation of neuromuscular activation patterns during treadmill walking after long-duration space flight. Acta Astronaut. 1998 Aug-Sep;43(3-6):107-19.[]

Layne CS, Mulavara AP, McDonald PV, Pruett CJ, Kozlovskaya IB, and Bloomberg JJ. Effect of long-duration spaceflight on postural control during self-generated perturbations. Journal of Applied Physiology. 2001 Mar; 90(3):997-1006. []

Layne CS, Mulavara AP, Pruett CJ, McDonald PV, Kozlovskaya IB, and Bloomberg JJ. The use of in-flight foot pressure as a countermeasure to neuromuscular degradation. Acta Astronaut. 1998 Jan-Apr; 42(1-8):231-46.[]

McDonald PV1, Bloomberg JJ, and Layne CS. A review of adaptive change in musculoskeletal impedance during space flight and associated implications for postflight head movement control. Journal of Vestibular Research. 1997. Mar-Jun; 7(2-3):239-50. []

Newman DJ1, Jackson DK, and Bloomberg JJ. Altered astronaut lower limb and mass center kinematics in downward jumping following space flight. Experimental Brain Research. 1997. October; 117(1):30-42. []

Reschke MF, Bloomberg JJ, Harm DL, Paloski WH, Layne C, McDonald V. Posture, locomotion, spatial orientation, and motion sickness as a function of space flight. Brain Research. Brain Research Reviews. 1998 Nov;28(1-2):102-17.[]

Adaptation, physiological
Automatic data processing
Exercise test
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Data Information
Data Availability
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Ankle total movement
Biceps femoris
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Mission/Study Information
Mission Launch/Start Date Landing/End Date Duration
Mir 18 03/14/1995 07/07/1995 116 days
Mir 21 02/21/1996 09/02/1996 194 days
Mir 22 08/17/1996 03/02/1997 197 days
Mir 23 02/10/1997 08/14/1997 185 days
NASA 2 03/22/1996 09/26/1996 189 days
NASA 3 09/16/1996 01/22/1997 130 days
NASA 4 01/12/1997 05/24/1997 133 days
STS-60 02/03/1994 02/11/1994 8 days
STS-71 06/27/1995 07/07/1995 10 days

Additional Information
Other Key People
Managing NASA Center
Johnson Space Center (JSC)
Responsible NASA Representative
Johnson Space Center LSDA Office
Project Manager: Jessica Keune
Institutional Support
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Alternate Experiment Name
Proposal Source