Navigation Links
Why do astronauts suffer from space sickness?
Date:5/21/2008

Centrifuging astronauts for a lengthy period provided researcher Suzanne Nooij with better insight into how space sickness develops, the nausea and disorientation experienced by many astronauts. Nooij defended her PhD theses on this subject at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft, The Netherlands) on Tuesday 20 May.

Gravity plays a major role in our spatial orientation. Changes in gravitational forces, such as the transition to weightlessness during a space voyage, influence our spatial orientation and require adaptation by many of the physiological processes in which our balance system plays a part. As long as this adaptation is incomplete, this can be coupled to motion sickness (nausea), visual illusions and disorientation.

This space sickness or Space Adaptation Syndrome (SAS), is experienced by about half of all astronauts during the first few days of their space voyage. Wubbo Ockels, the first Dutchman in space in 1986, also suffered from these symptoms. In his capacity as TU Delft professor, Ockels was PhD supervisor for Suzanne Nooijs research.

Rotation

Interestingly, SAS symptoms can even be experienced after lengthy exposure to high gravitational forces in a human centrifuge, as is used for instance for testing and training fighter pilots. To experience this, people have to spend longer than an hour in a centrifuge and be subjected to gravitational forces of three times higher than that on Earth. The rotation is in itself not unpleasant, but after leaving the centrifuge about half of the test subjects experience the same symptoms as caused by space sickness. It also turns out that astronauts who suffer from space sickness during space flights also experience these symptoms following lengthy rotation on Earth. This means that these symptoms are not caused by weightlessness as such, but more generally by adaptation to a different gravitational force.

Suzanne Nooij has studied these effects closely using the human centrifuge at the Centre for Man and Aviation in Soesterberg. Her results confirm the theory that both types of nausea (space sickness and after rotation) are caused by the same mechanism and also provide better insight into why the symptoms arise.

Otoliths

Logically, Nooij focused her research on the organ of balance. This is located in the inner ear and comprises semi-circular canals, which are sensitive to rotation, and otoliths, which are sensitive to linear acceleration. It has previously been suggested that a difference between the functioning of the left and right otolith contributes to susceptibility to sickness among astronauts. If this is the case, this should also apply after lengthy rotation.

Nooij tested this otolith asymmetry hypothesis. The otolith and semi-circular canals functions on both sides were measured of fifteen test subjects known to be susceptible to space sickness. Those who suffered from space sickness following rotation proved to have high otolith asymmetry and more sensitive otolith and canal systems. These people could not be classified as sensitive or non-sensitive on the basis of this asymmetry alone, but could on the basis of a combination of various otolith and canal features. This demonstrates that the entire organ of balance is involved in space sickness and that it probably entails complex interactions between the various parts of the organ of balance.


'/>"/>

Contact: Roy Meijer
r.e.t.meijer@tudelft.nl
31-152-781-751
Delft University of Technology
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Exercise May Help Female Astronauts Stay Strong
2. NASA Astronauts, Exercise Exhibit To Be At Houston Marathon Events
3. Microscopic astronauts to go back in orbit
4. Space Radiation a Risk for Astronauts
5. Ragweed Season Doesnt Mean Suffering
6. New male sling procedure helps prostate cancer survivors who suffer from urinary incontinence
7. More Kids Are Suffering Sports Injuries
8. REACH Registry Highlights That Patients With Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) Suffer High Rates of Heart Attack, Stroke, Hospitalization, and Death
9. Alzheimers Patients May Suffer Silent Seizures
10. New study examines brain-gut relationship in those suffering with stomach pain or discomfort
11. European directive will halt use of MRI scans; cancer diagnosis and treatment will suffer
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/23/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2017 , ... Goodcents Deli ... , The restaurant is located at 4210 SW 21st St. Topeka, Kan. 66604 (near ... owner of Graham Restaurant Group who owns three other locations in the Topeka and ...
(Date:6/23/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2017 , ... MD ... Florida. This is MD Now’s 28th facility overall and marks the urgent care center's ... located one mile North of The Falls shopping mall. The new clinic offers a ...
(Date:6/23/2017)... ... June 23, 2017 , ... ... planning, and related services to families and business owners in and around Lackawanna ... to benefit senior citizens in the area. , Meals on Wheels of NEPA ...
(Date:6/22/2017)... ... ... Branches, Inc. has been partnering with The Miami Foundation for over 9 years, ... on providing opportunity to low-income families and breaking the cycle of generational poverty. , ... support its , Climb to College & Career initiative which focuses on postsecondary success. ...
(Date:6/22/2017)... ... June 23, 2017 , ... Despite its pervasiveness, many ... reviews available that integrate basic science with clinical practice. Now, however, a timely review ... providing clinicians with insight into the etiology of NeuP and educating preclinical scientists on ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/7/2017)... , June 7, 2017 Endo International plc ... 7, 2017, the Hon. Joseph R. Goodwin , ... West Virginia , entered a case ... Pelvic Repair System Products Liability Litigation (the "MDL") that ... cases to provide expert disclosures on specific causation within ...
(Date:6/5/2017)... Neb. , June 5, 2017 ... in the United States . ... helps a fallen person up to an almost-standing ... easily assembled and operated by one assistant and does ... It is simple enough that a child can operate ...
(Date:5/30/2017)... , May 30, 2017 DarioHealth Corp. (NASDAQ: DRIO), ... data solutions, today announced that it will be presenting at the ... 8:00 AM PT. Erez Raphael , CEO, of DarioHealth will ... conference will be held on June 6th & 7th, 2017 at ... in the small / micro-cap space. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: