About this Research Topic
We are now in an era of space flights lasting for months and even years, and space habitats soon becoming available for tourism and industrial research and development. Space motion sickness has emerged as a problem affecting about 80% of all flyers and can persist for many days. With long duration flights, in addition to bone and muscle degradations, a variety of problems have been encountered Including neurophysiological changes involving the eyes (SANS) and brain (ventricular enlargements, cortical thinning). Major post-reentry disturbances of posture and motor control result and can last for weeks. In recent years, there has been a revolution in our understanding of vestibular function and its broad contribution to many cognitive domains, in addition to balance and orientation, such as path integration. The present goal is to determine how insights from cutting-edge studies of vestibular impairments, including progressive ones, can be used to predict and interpret performance decrements for astronauts and cosmonauts in flight and returning from flight. Quantitative portable test devices have been developed for assessing loss of function and several rehabilitation techniques and strategies have been developed that can be readily employed in many contexts, including in-flight.
Space flights of varying durations will be commonplace within a decade. The intent here is to welcome submissions that address mission objectives but also ones that address the consequences of long-term stays in a range of acceleration levels from weightless to lunar and Martian gravity levels. Topic editors welcome original research article, brief research article, case report, review, mini-review, and meta-analysis - pertaining, but not limited to, the following possible sub-topics:
- What acceleration levels will be adequate to preserve otolith and semicircular canal function?
- How can vestibular function and its cognitive concomitants be tracked over time inflight?
- How do inflight changes predict post-flight performance degradations and their duration?
- What tests can be developed to assess susceptibility to space motion sickness, and re-entry sickness?
- What strategies could enhance postflight recovery of postural control and locomotion?
- What insights can the performance impairments of vestibular-loss individuals with progressive or sudden loss add to resolving the above issues?
Keywords: labyrinthine loss, spaceflight, prediction, performance, adaptation, vestibular impairments
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