Intermittent short-arm centrifugation is a partially effective countermeasure against upright balance deterioration following 60-day head-down tilt bed rest

Enrico De Martino*, Sauro Emerick Salomoni, Paul W. Hodges, Julie Hides, Kirsty Lindsay, Dorothee Debuse, Andrew Winnard, James M. Elliott, Mark Hoggarth, David Beard, Jonathan A. Cook, Robert Ekman, Luis Hinterwaldner, Jonathan Scott, Tobias Weber, Nick Caplan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

This study investigated whether artificial gravity (AG), induced by short-radius centrifugation, mitigated deterioration in standing balance and anticipatory postural adjustments (APAs) of trunk muscles following 60-day head-down tilt bed rest. Twenty-four participants were allocated to one of three groups: control group (N=8); 30 minutes continuous AG daily (N=8); intermittent 6x5 minutes AG daily (N=8). Before and immediately after bed rest, standing balance was assessed in four conditions: eyes open and closed on both stable and foam surfaces. Measures including sway path, root-mean-square, and peak sway velocity, sway area, sway frequency power, and sway density curve were extracted from the centre of pressure displacement. APAs were assessed during rapid arm movements using intramuscular or surface electromyography electrodes of the rectus abdominis, obliquus externus and internus abdominis, transversus abdominis, erector spinae at L1, L2, L3, and L4 vertebral levels, and deep lumbar multifidus muscles. The relative latency between the EMG onset of the deltoid and each of the trunk muscles was calculated. All three groups had poorer balance performance in most of the parameters (all P<0.05) and delayed APAs of the trunk muscles following bed rest (all P<0.05). Sway path and sway velocity were deteriorated, and sway frequency power was less in those who received intermittent AG than in the control group (all P<0.05), particularly in conditions with reduced proprioceptive feedback. These data highlight the potential of intermittent AG to mitigate deterioration of some aspects of postural control induced by gravitational unloading, but no protective effects on trunk muscle responses were observed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)689-701
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology
Volume131
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2021

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