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Fiscal Year: FY 2017  Task Last Updated:  01/24/2018 
PI Name: Buckey, Jay C. M.D. 
Project Title: Autonomous Behavioral Health Countermeasures for Spaceflight 
   
Division Name: Human Research 
Program/Discipline--
Element/Subdiscipline:
NSBRI--Neurobehavioral and Psychosocial Factors Team 
 
Joint Agency Name:   TechPort:  Yes 
Human Research Program Elements: (1) HFBP:Human Factors & Behavioral Performance (IRP Rev H)
Human Research Program Risks: (1) Bmed:Risk of Adverse Behavioral Conditions and Psychiatric Disorders
Human Research Program Gaps: (1) BMed01:We need to identify and validate countermeasures that promote individual behavioral health and performance during exploration class missions (IRP Rev F)
Space Biology Element: None
Space Biology Cross-Element Discipline: None
Space Biology Special Category: None
PI Email: jay.buckey@dartmouth.edu  Fax:  603-650-6013 
PI Organization Type: UNIVERSITY  Phone: 603-650-6012  
Organization Name: Dartmouth College 
PI Address 1: Department of Medicine 
PI Address 2: 1 Medical Center Drive 
PI Web Page:  
City: Lebanon  State: NH 
Zip Code: 03756-0001  Congressional District: 
Comments: Address updated 9/2008 
Project Type: GROUND  Solicitation:  2013 HERO NNJ13ZSA002N-Crew Health (FLAGSHIP & NSBRI) 
Start Date: 06/01/2014  End Date:  05/31/2017 
No. of Post Docs: No. of PhD Degrees: 
No. of PhD Candidates: No. of Master' Degrees: 
No. of Master's Candidates: No. of Bachelor's Degrees: 
No. of Bachelor's Candidates: Monitoring Center:  NSBRI 
Contact Monitor:   Contact Phone:   
Contact Email:  
Flight Program:  
Flight Assignment: NOTE: Element change to Human Factors & Behavioral Performance; previously Behavioral Health & Performance (Ed., 1/18/17)

 

Key Personnel Changes/Previous PI:  
COI Name (Institution): Hegel, Mark  Ph.D. ( Dartmouth College )
Loeb, Lorie  M.A. ( Dartmouth College ) 
Grant/Contract No.: NCC 9-58-NBPF03801 
Performance Goal No.:  
Performance Goal Text:

 

Task Description: Over several years with National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) support, the investigator team (in collaboration with others) has developed a suite of behavioral health countermeasures called the Virtual Space Station (VSS) designed for use by astronauts. The programs include conflict management training, depression treatment, and stress management modules. Each of these modules has been tested in relevant settings: The conflict content has been tested for usability and acceptability with astronauts. The stress management module has been evaluated in a randomized trial with business and law students. The 6-session, depression treatment module has been tested in a Phase II trial at Dartmouth with depressed employees, and in a randomized controlled trial in Boston. Currently, the VSS contains a validated suite of products that have been designed for ultimate use by astronauts. Our objective is to expand and customize the VSS for implementation with astronauts to provide a clinically validated tool to autonomously administer behavioral health countermeasures.

During this reporting year, we have made progress on each of our three specific aims:

Aim #1: Customize the Virtual Space Station (VSS) program for use by astronauts by evaluating the program in an isolated environment and collecting detailed information on program use, including user choices, ease of navigation, usability, and acceptability.

In this reporting year we have deployed the VSS in three space analog environments: The Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) Mars Analog IV and V missions, the Canada Forces Alert Arctic Station, and the South Pole Station in Antarctica for use as a treatment resource. Each of these environments is isolated and confined with limited communication and access to the outside world. Our results from the HISEAS III mission were published this year.

Aim #2: Modify the existing VSS conflict management program to add enhanced conflict resolution content and an integrated behavioral health assessment. We have designed and built the integrated behavioral health assessment and it is currently being used in the HISEAS V mission. We have also expanded the VSS Conflict resolution content with a new module on interest-based negotiation. The module teaches negotiation techniques in an interactive scenario to guide users through techniques for achieving better conflict outcomes. This module is being evaluated at HISEAS V and at the South Pole station. The VSS has been converted to a web-based format, with the Conflict and Depression modules fully converted, and the Stress module conversion underway. The program has been placed on a permanent, secure server so it can be hosted online. This allows greater flexibility and easier deployment, as well as alleviating compatibility and continuity issues.

Aim #3: Enhance the VSS program to include a mood enhancement system that allows users to experience immersive relaxing situations using virtual reality. We have developed several virtual reality scenes in-house: Fall in New England, an Urban Retreat filmed around Houston public spaces, an indoor Control scene for experimental evaluation, a Boston scene, a Hawaii scene, a scene on Gile mountain, an evening pond scene, a rendered forest relaxation scene, a kittens scene, a scene in a park, a winter dog scene, and a rendered daytime lake scene with and without animals. We have also purchased several natural scenes filmed in Ireland, Bavaria, and Australia. All VR films greater than 15 minutes in length are on deployment in our analog environments. We have also performed a lab-based evaluation using physiologic measures to validate the use of VR for stress reduction and relaxation. The results from this laboratory evaluation were published this year.

 

Rationale for HRP Directed Research:

 

Research Impact/Earth Benefits: Anyone can develop behavioral health problems. Factors such as confinement, under- or over- work, sleep loss, and monotony can combine to worsen interpersonal tensions or even lead to frank depression. Additionally, behavioral health problems are some of the most common and costly problems in the workplace. Conflicts can arise with a resulting loss of trust and teamwork. A chronic dispute between people can destroy team functioning and lead to errors or lack of situational awareness. Suppressed anger or frustration can erupt unexpectedly and create potentially hazardous situations. Programs that can deliver behavioral health countermeasures autonomously, confidentially, and at a place and time of the user's choosing, would have many applications. Computer-based behavioral health countermeasures can offer an autonomous way for anyone to address psychological and interpersonal issues. Content within the VSS has been tested in trials with business and law students, and with depressed adults. The depression program has been evaluated for acceptability for an elderly population. The VSS provides a personalized experience seen in live therapies, while also lowering the barrier to use by being convenient and removing stigma. Furthermore, these kinds of treatments can be implemented in many different environments where there is limited access to behavioral health, such as in military, polar, or culturally-isolated settings. Virtual reality offers immersive experiences that mimic real-life exposure to nature and other relaxing settings. The final product from this research will provide an integrated, autonomous approach to behavioral health. The assessment component will begin with the assumption that the any issues are minor and transient, and can guide the user to a variety of options both within and outside of the program (movies/distraction, music, meals, photo/hobby, call home, VR retreat). For moderate severity problems, the program includes a variety of self-assessment tools the user can try, and offers programs to assist with conflict and/or stress management. For high-severity problems, the program includes a validated 6-session depression treatment program based on problem solving treatment.

 

Task Progress: 1. Completed the conversion of the Virtual Space Station (VSS) to an online format.

2. Published the results from the evaluation of the VSS at HI-SEAS III.

3. Deployed the VSS and virtual reality components to HI-SEAS IV and HI-SEAS V.

4. Completed deployment of VSS and virtual reality to Canadian Forces Station Alert.

5. Deployed VSS and virtual reality components to the South Pole Station for use as a treatment resource.

6. Completed the Integrated Behavioral Health Assessment and deployed it to HI-SEAS V.

7. Completed the new module on Interest-Based Negotiation and deployed it to HI-SEAS V.

8. Published the laboratory evaluation of the virtual reality component.

9. Developed new virtual reality content for deployment to HI-SEAS V and South Pole Station.

10. Results from HI-SEAS IV and Canada Alert deployment being prepared for publication.

 

Bibliography Type: Description: (Last Updated: 04/16/2019) Show Cumulative Bibliography Listing
 
Abstracts for Journals and Proceedings Anderson A, Cowan D, Fellows A, Binsted K, Hegel MT, Buckey J. "Autonomous Behavioral Health Countermeasures: Virtual Space Station." 2017 NASA Human Research Program Investigators’ Workshop, Galveston, TX, January 23-26, 2017.

2017 NASA Human Research Program Investigators’ Workshop, Galveston, TX, January 23-26, 2017. , Jan-2017

Abstracts for Journals and Proceedings Anderson A, Fellows A, Hegel MT, Buckey J. "Virtual Reality with Natural Scenes to Reduce Stress in Isolated Confined Environments." International Society for Gravitational Physiology (ISGP), European Space Agency (ESA), Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES) Joint Life Science Meeting ‘Life in Space for Life on Earth,’ Toulouse, France, June 5-10, 2016.

International Society for Gravitational Physiology (ISGP), European Space Agency (ESA), Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES) Joint Life Science Meeting ‘Life in Space for Life on Earth,’ Toulouse, France, June 5-10, 2016. , Jun-2016

Abstracts for Journals and Proceedings Cowan D, Anderson A, Buckey J, Fellows A, Binsted K, Love R. "Evaluation of virtual nature for relaxation in isolated, confined environments." 88th Aerospace Medical Association Annual Meeting, Denver, CO, April 30-May 4, 2017.

Aerospace Medicine and Human Performance. 2017;88(3):271. , Mar-2017

Articles in Peer-reviewed Journals Anderson AP, Fellows AM, Binsted KA, Hegel MT, Buckey JC. "Autonomous, computer-based behavioral health countermeasure evaluation at HI-SEAS Mars Analog." Aerospace Medicine and Human Performance. 2016 Nov;87(11):912-20. https://doi.org/10.3357/AMHP.4676.2016 ; PubMed PMID: 27779949 , Nov-2016
Articles in Peer-reviewed Journals Anderson AP, Mayer MD, Fellows AM, Cowan DR, Hegel MT, Buckey JC. "Relaxation with immersive natural scenes presented using virtual reality." Aerospace Medicine and Human Performance. 2017 Jun;88(6):520-6. https://doi.org/10.3357/AMHP.4747.2017 ; PubMed PMID: 28539139 , Jun-2017
Articles in Peer-reviewed Journals Sandoval LR, Buckey JC, Ainslie R, Tombari M, Stone W, Hegel MT. "Randomized controlled trial of a computerized interactive media-based problem solving treatment for depression." Behavior Therapy. 2017 May;48(3):413-25. Epub 2016 May 3. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.beth.2016.04.001 ; PMID:28390503 , May-2017
Awards Buckey JC. (Jay C. Buckey) "Jeffrey P. Sutton Scientific Achievement Award, May 2016." May-2016
Significant Media Coverage Koppel N, Capezzera N, Shastri V. "Life on Mars: Mirages of Earth. Article aobut HI-SEAS work and including PI's research." New York Times, May 31, 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/05/31/science/space/life-on-mars.html , May-2017
Download in PDF pdf     
Fiscal Year: FY 2016  Task Last Updated:  07/20/2016 
PI Name: Buckey, Jay C. M.D. 
Project Title: Autonomous Behavioral Health Countermeasures for Spaceflight 
   
Division Name: Human Research 
Program/Discipline--
Element/Subdiscipline:
NSBRI--Neurobehavioral and Psychosocial Factors Team 
 
Joint Agency Name:   TechPort:  Yes 
Human Research Program Elements: (1) HFBP:Human Factors & Behavioral Performance (IRP Rev H)
Human Research Program Risks: (1) Bmed:Risk of Adverse Behavioral Conditions and Psychiatric Disorders
Human Research Program Gaps: (1) BMed01:We need to identify and validate countermeasures that promote individual behavioral health and performance during exploration class missions (IRP Rev F)
Space Biology Element: None
Space Biology Cross-Element Discipline: None
Space Biology Special Category: None
PI Email: jay.buckey@dartmouth.edu  Fax:  603-650-6013 
PI Organization Type: UNIVERSITY  Phone: 603-650-6012  
Organization Name: Dartmouth College 
PI Address 1: Department of Medicine 
PI Address 2: 1 Medical Center Drive 
PI Web Page:  
City: Lebanon  State: NH 
Zip Code: 03756-0001  Congressional District: 
Comments: Address updated 9/2008 
Project Type: GROUND  Solicitation:  2013 HERO NNJ13ZSA002N-Crew Health (FLAGSHIP & NSBRI) 
Start Date: 06/01/2014  End Date:  05/31/2017 
No. of Post Docs: No. of PhD Degrees: 
No. of PhD Candidates: No. of Master' Degrees: 
No. of Master's Candidates: No. of Bachelor's Degrees: 
No. of Bachelor's Candidates: Monitoring Center:  NSBRI 
Contact Monitor:   Contact Phone:   
Contact Email:  
Flight Program:  
Flight Assignment: NOTE: Element change to Human Factors & Behavioral Performance; previously Behavioral Health & Performance (Ed., 1/18/17)

 

Key Personnel Changes/Previous PI:  
COI Name (Institution): Hegel, Mark  Ph.D. ( Dartmouth College )
Loeb, Lorie  M.A. ( Dartmouth College ) 
Grant/Contract No.: NCC 9-58-NBPF03801 
Performance Goal No.:  
Performance Goal Text:

 

Task Description: Over several years with National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) support, the investigator team (in collaboration with others) has developed a suite of behavioral health countermeasures called the Virtual Space Station (VSS) designed for use by astronauts. The programs include conflict management training, depression treatment, and stress management modules. Each of these modules has been tested in relevant settings: The conflict content has been tested for usability and acceptability with astronauts. The stress management module has been evaluated in a randomized trial with business and law students. The 6-session, depression treatment module has been tested in a Phase II trial at Dartmouth with depressed employees, and in a randomized controlled trial in Boston. Currently, the VSS contains a validated suite of products that have been designed for ultimate use by astronauts. Our objective is to expand and customize the VSS for implementation with astronauts to provide a clinically validated tool to autonomously administer behavioral health countermeasures.

During this reporting year, we have made progress on each of our three specific aims: Aim #1: Customize the Virtual Space Station (VSS) program for use by astronauts by evaluating the program in an isolated environment and collecting detailed information on program use, including user choices, ease of navigation, usability, and acceptability.

In this reporting year we have deployed the VSS in three space analog environments: The Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) Mars Analog in both the 8-month and 12-month missions, the Canada Forces Alert Arctic Station, and South Pole Station in Antarctica for use as a treatment resource. Each of these environments is isolated and confined with limited communication and access to the outside world. We established each of these analog evaluations independently, and are continuing to work through the NASA-NSF (National Science Foundation) research channels to employ the VSS as a research tool in the Antarctic.

Aim #2: Modify the existing VSS conflict management program to add enhanced conflict resolution content and an integrated behavioral health assessment. We have designed and built the integrated behavioral health assessment and it has been reviewed by our research colleagues at the NASA Johnson Space Center. We will begin integrating it into the current VSS and seeking feedback from the astronaut population for acceptability. We are also in the process of expanding the VSS Conflict resolution content with a conflict management component. We have completed the script, set film dates, and sought actors to complete the content. The scene will be designed so participants can choose a path through a simulated conflict, similar to the current Conflict content, which has been well received. The content incorporates negotiation techniques to guide users through techniques for achieving better conflict outcomes. The VSS is in the process of being converted to a web-based format, with the Conflict and Depression modules fully converted. We are beginning to transition the program to a permanent, secure server so it can be hosted online. This allows greater flexibility and easier deployment, as well as alleviating compatibility and continuity issues.

Aim #3: Enhance the VSS program to include a mood enhancement system that allows users to experience immersive relaxing situations using virtual reality (VR). We have developed several virtual reality scenes in-house: Fall in New England, an Urban Retreat filmed around Houston public spaces, an indoor Control scene for experimental evaluation, and a Microgravity scene filmed on a parabolic flight campaign. We have also purchased several natural scenes filmed in Ireland, Bavaria, and Australia. All VR films greater than 15 minutes in length are on deployment in our analog environments. We have also performed a lab-based evaluation using physiologic measures to validate the use of VR for stress reduction and relaxation.

 

Rationale for HRP Directed Research:

 

Research Impact/Earth Benefits: Anyone can develop behavioral health problems. Factors such as confinement, under- or over- work, sleep loss, and monotony can combine to worsen interpersonal tensions or even lead to frank depression. Additionally, behavioral health problems are some of the most common and costly problems in the workplace. Conflicts can arise with a resulting loss of trust and teamwork. A chronic dispute between people can destroy team functioning and lead to errors or lack of situational awareness. Suppressed anger or frustration can erupt unexpectedly and create potentially hazardous situations. Programs that can deliver behavioral health countermeasures autonomously, confidentially, and at a place and time of the user's choosing, would have many applications. Computer-based behavioral health countermeasures can offer an autonomous way for anyone to address psychological and interpersonal issues. Content within the VSS has been tested in trials with business and law students, and with depressed adults. The depression program has been evaluated for acceptability for an elderly population. The VSS provides a personalized experience seen in live therapies, while also lowering the barrier to use by being convenient and removing stigma. Furthermore, these kinds of treatments can be implemented in many different environments where there is limited access to behavioral health, such as in military, polar, or culturally-isolated settings. Virtual reality offers immersive experiences that mimic real-life exposure to nature and other relaxing settings. The final product from this research will provide an integrated, autonomous approach to behavioral health. The assessment component will begin with the assumption that any issues are minor and transient, and can guide the user to a variety of options both within and outside of the program (movies/distraction, music, meals, photo/hobby, call home, VR retreat). For moderate severity problems, the program includes a variety of self-assessment tools the user can try, and offers programs to assist with conflict and/or stress management. For high-severity problems, the program includes a validated 6-session depression treatment program based on problem solving therapy.

 

Task Progress: In this reporting year we have deployed the VSS to three space analog environments: The HI-SEAS Mars Analog for both the 8-month and 12-month missions, the Canada Forces Alert Arctic Station, and South Pole Station in Antarctica for use as a treatment resource. Each of these environments is isolated and confined with limited communication and access to the outside world. We established each of these analog evaluations independently, and are continuing to work through the NASA-NSF research channels to employ the VSS as a research tool in the Antarctic. We have designed and built the integrated behavioral health assessment and it has been reviewed by our research colleagues at the NASA Johnson Space Center. We will begin integrating it into the current VSS and seeking feedback from the astronaut population for acceptability. We are also in the process of expanding the VSS Conflict resolution content with a conflict management component. We have completed the script, set film dates, and sought actors to complete the content. The scene will be designed so participants can choose a path through a simulated conflict, similar to the current Conflict content, which has been well received. The content incorporates negotiation techniques to guide users through techniques for achieving better conflict outcomes. The VSS is in the process of being converted to a web-based format with the conversion completed for the Conflict and Depression modules. We are beginning to transition the program to a permanent, secure server so it can be hosted online. This allows greater flexibility and easier deployment, as well as alleviating compatibility and continuity issues.

We have developed several virtual reality scenes in-house: Fall in New England, an Urban Retreat filmed around Houston public spaces, an indoor Control scene for experimental evaluation, and a Microgravity scene, filmed on a parabolic flight campaign. We have also purchased several natural scenes filmed in Ireland, Bavaria, and Australia. All VR films greater than 15 minutes in length are on deployment in our analog environments. We have also performed a lab-based evaluation using physiologic measures to validate the use of VR for stress reduction and relaxation.

 

Bibliography Type: Description: (Last Updated: 04/16/2019) Show Cumulative Bibliography Listing
 
Abstracts for Journals and Proceedings Anderson AP, Fellows AM, Binsted K, Hegel MT, Buckey JC. "Evaluation Of An Autonomous, Computer-Based Behavioral Health Countermeasure In An Isolated, Confined Environment." 87th Aerospace Medical Association Annual Meeting, Atlantic City, NJ, April 24-28, 2016.

Aerospace Medicine and Human Performance. 2016 Mar;87(3). , Mar-2016

Abstracts for Journals and Proceedings Anderson AP, Fellows AM, Binsted K, Hegel, MT, Buckey JC. "Autonomous Behavioral Health Countermeasures - Virtual Space Station." 2016 NASA Human Research Program Investigators’ Workshop, Galveston, TX, February 8-11, 2016.

2016 NASA Human Research Program Investigators’ Workshop, Galveston, TX, February 8-11, 2016. , Feb-2016

Articles in Peer-reviewed Journals Sandoval LR, Buckey JC, Ainslie R, Tombari M, Stone W, Hegel MT. "Randomized controlled trial of a computerized interactive media-based problem solving treatment for depression." Behavior Therapy. Available online 3 May 2016. In Press, Corrected Proof. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.beth.2016.04.001 , May-2016
Significant Media Coverage Zhou A. "DALI lab partners with NASA on virtual reality. Article on PI's research, including interviews." The Dartmouth (college newspaper). January 13, 2016., Jan-2016
Significant Media Coverage Zarkov A. "Virtual Reality May Help Curb Isolation in Deep Space Travel. Article on PI's research, including interviews." Gudgets. January 5, 2016., Jan-2016
Significant Media Coverage MacDonald C. "The English seaside town that could beat depression around the world: Researchers recreate Wembury and say a virtual visit makes patients relax. Article about PI's research." Daily Mail. January 22, 2016. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3411028/The-English-seaside-town-beat-depression-world-Researchers-recreate-Wembury-say-virtual-visit-makes-patients-relax.html , Jan-2016
Significant Media Coverage Watry G. "Virtual Reality May Help Curb Isolation in Deep Space Travel. Article on PI's research, including interviews." R&D Magazine. January 5, 2016. http://www.rdmag.com/news/2016/01/virtual-reality-may-help-curb-isolation-deep-space-travel ; accessed 8/17/16., Jan-2016
Significant Media Coverage Hamzelou J. "Virtual idyll could aid convalescence and stave off depression. Article on PI's research, including interviews." New Scientist. 2016 Jan 23;3057. https://www.newscientist.com/article/2073993-virtual-idyll-could-aid-convalescence-and-stave-off-depression/ , Jan-2016
Significant Media Coverage Plenke M. "Virtual Reality Could Keep Astronauts From Losing Their Minds in Outer Space. Online article about PI's research." Tech.Mic online. January 5, 2016. https://mic.com/articles/131822/virtual-reality-could-keep-astronauts-from-losing-their-minds-in-outer-space#.0behyVslk ; accessed 8/17/16., Jan-2016
Significant Media Coverage Jagneaux D. "Virtual Reality Could Provide Healthy Escape for Homesick Astronauts. Online article about PI's research." Motherboard. January 10, 2016. http://motherboard.vice.com/read/virtual-reality-could-provide-healthy-escape-for-homesick-astronauts ; accessed 8/17/16., Jan-2016
Significant Media Coverage Fecht S. "Can virtual reality help keep astronauts sane in space? Article about PI's research." Popular Science. January 4, 2016. http://www.popsci.com/can-virtual-reality-help-keep-astronauts-sane-on-deep-space-journeys ; accessed 8/17/16., Jan-2016
Download in PDF pdf     
Fiscal Year: FY 2015  Task Last Updated:  07/16/2015 
PI Name: Buckey, Jay C. M.D. 
Project Title: Autonomous Behavioral Health Countermeasures for Spaceflight 
   
Division Name: Human Research 
Program/Discipline--
Element/Subdiscipline:
NSBRI--Neurobehavioral and Psychosocial Factors Team 
 
Joint Agency Name:   TechPort:  Yes 
Human Research Program Elements: (1) HFBP:Human Factors & Behavioral Performance (IRP Rev H)
Human Research Program Risks: (1) Bmed:Risk of Adverse Behavioral Conditions and Psychiatric Disorders
Human Research Program Gaps: (1) BMed01:We need to identify and validate countermeasures that promote individual behavioral health and performance during exploration class missions (IRP Rev F)
Space Biology Element: None
Space Biology Cross-Element Discipline: None
Space Biology Special Category: None
PI Email: jay.buckey@dartmouth.edu  Fax:  603-650-6013 
PI Organization Type: UNIVERSITY  Phone: 603-650-6012  
Organization Name: Dartmouth College 
PI Address 1: Department of Medicine 
PI Address 2: 1 Medical Center Drive 
PI Web Page:  
City: Lebanon  State: NH 
Zip Code: 03756-0001  Congressional District: 
Comments: Address updated 9/2008 
Project Type: GROUND  Solicitation:  2013 HERO NNJ13ZSA002N-Crew Health (FLAGSHIP & NSBRI) 
Start Date: 06/01/2014  End Date:  05/31/2017 
No. of Post Docs: No. of PhD Degrees: 
No. of PhD Candidates: No. of Master' Degrees: 
No. of Master's Candidates: No. of Bachelor's Degrees: 
No. of Bachelor's Candidates: 14  Monitoring Center:  NSBRI 
Contact Monitor:   Contact Phone:   
Contact Email:  
Flight Program:  
Flight Assignment:

 

Key Personnel Changes/Previous PI:  
COI Name (Institution): Hegel, Mark  Ph.D. ( Dartmouth College )
Loeb, Lorie  M.A. ( Dartmouth College ) 
Grant/Contract No.: NCC 9-58-NBPF03801 
Performance Goal No.:  
Performance Goal Text:

 

Task Description: (1) Original project aims/objectives. Aim #1: Customize the Virtual Space Station (VSS) program for use by astronauts by evaluating the program in an isolated environment and collecting detailed information on program use, including user choices, ease of navigation, usability and acceptability. Aim #2: Modify the existing VSS conflict management program to add enhanced conflict resolution content and an integrated behavioral health assessment. Aim #3: Enhance the VSS program to include a mood enhancement system that allows users to experience immersive relaxing situations using virtual reality.

(2) Key findings and (3) Impact of key findings on Specific Aims.

During this reporting year, we have made progress on each of our three specific aims:

Aim #1: The original plan was to deploy the programs to Antarctica, but this plan depends on NASA negotiating an agreement with the National Science Foundation (NSF) to have this National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI)-funded program deployed there. This agreement is still in work. While this is being negotiated we have been investigating other isolated and confined environments we can use. We were able to secure an agreement to deploy the programs to the Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) analog, which simulates the isolation and confinement on long-duration space missions. The programs are currently in use at HI-SEAS, and all crewmembers there have completed work with the conflict and stress content. Work with the depression content is currently underway. The HI-SEAS deployment ends in June 2015. We have identified other alternative isolated, confined, environments (ICEs) and have been working to establish other collaborations in case an agreement between NASA and the NSF is not completed. In addition to evaluating the content, we are making multiple programming changes to improve both the usability and flexibility of the program.

Aim #2: The structure of the integrated behavioral health assessment has been completed. It will be implemented in the existing content as a tool to determine the need for behavioral health countermeasures and guide the astronaut users accordingly. The VSS conflict resolution content is being expanded. We have created several conflict scenarios that will be vetted for acceptability with astronauts and others with experience in isolated, confined environments.

Aim #3: We have acquired the necessary hardware and software, and have begun constructing new virtual reality scenarios to promote psychological wellbeing.

(4) Proposed research plan.

In our second year, we will complete our evaluation while on deployment at HI-SEAS. This information will be critical to guide our future content development. We hope an agreement between NASA and the NSF is forthcoming so we can implement in the US Antarctic stations. However, we will continue to pursue additional isolated, confined environments where we will evaluate the VSS. We will finish expanding the VSS content to include at least one new, fully vetted conflict scenario and the new virtual reality immersive environments.

 

Rationale for HRP Directed Research:

 

Research Impact/Earth Benefits: Anyone can develop behavioral health problems. Factors such as confinement, under- or over- work, sleep loss, and monotony can combine to worsen interpersonal tensions or even lead to frank depression. Additionally, behavioral health problems are some of the most common and costly problems in the workplace. Programs that can deliver behavioral health countermeasures autonomously, confidentially, and at a place and time of the user's choosing, would have many applications. Conflicts can arise with a resulting loss of trust and teamwork. A chronic dispute between people can destroy team functioning and lead to errors or lack of situational awareness. Suppressed anger or frustration can erupt unexpectedly and create potentially hazardous situations. Computer-based behavioral health countermeasures can offer an autonomous way for anyone to address psychological and interpersonal issues. Content versions have been successfully implemented with business school students, clinically depressed patients, and in elderly individuals. This program provides a personalized experience similar to live therapy, while also lowering barriers to use by being easily accessible and convenient. Furthermore, computer-based treatments can be implemented in different environments with limited access to behavioral health resources such as in the military, at polar sites, or in culturally isolated settings. Virtual reality offers immersive experiences that mimic real-life exposure to nature and other relaxing settings. The final product from this research will provide an integrated, autonomous approach to behavioral health. The assessment component will begin with the assumption that the any issues are minor and transient, and can guide the user to a variety of options both within and outside of the program (movies/distraction, music, meals, photo/hobby, call home, Virtual Reality retreat). For moderate severity problems, the program includes a variety of self-assessment tools the user can try, and offers programs to assist with conflict and/or stress management. For high-severity problems, the program includes a validated 6- session depression treatment program based on problem solving therapy.

 

Task Progress: • The VSS programs are currently deployed in an analog environment, HI-SEAS, that is designed to simulate a Mars mission. The 6 crewmembers have all used the conflict and stress content, and are currently working through the depression (problem solving treatment) module. The deployment ends in June 2015.

• The structure of the integrated behavioral health assessment has been completed and will be implemented in the existing content to determine the need for behavioral health countermeasures and guide the astronaut user accordingly.

• The VSS conflict resolution content is being expanded with a new scenario that provides interactive instruction on negotiating in situations where maintaining a good relationship is critical (such as between ground control and space). We have created several conflict scenarios that will be vetted for acceptability with astronauts and others with experience in isolated, confined environments.

• We have made many programming improvements within the Virtual Space Station suite of software programs.

• We have filmed our first 360 degree virtual reality scenes and are currently working to stitch the video together and to evaluate it for stress relaxation capabilities.

• We are evaluating the Alive biofeedback suite as part of the deployment with the stress content.

 

Bibliography Type: Description: (Last Updated: 04/16/2019) Show Cumulative Bibliography Listing
 
Abstracts for Journals and Proceedings Buckey J, Loeb L, Fellows A, Tregubov T, Harquail N, Crosier B, Fleischer J, Weiss J, Binsted K, Hegel M. "Autonomous behavioral health countermeasures for spaceflight." 2015 NASA Human Research Program Investigators’ Workshop, Galveston, TX, January 13-15, 2015.

2015 NASA Human Research Program Investigators’ Workshop, Galveston, TX, January 13-15, 2015. , Jan-2015

Significant Media Coverage Garreffa A. "NASA wants to create a Holodeck using the Oculus Rift for astronauts." Tweak Town, October 17, 2014. http://www.tweaktown.com/news/40643/nasa-wants-to-create-a-holodeck-using-the-oculus-rift-for-astronauts/index.html ; accessed 7/27/15., Oct-2014
Significant Media Coverage Qaiser A. "Oculus Rift Could Make Grueling Trips to Mars More Bearable." Virtual Reality Times, October 24, 2014. http://www.virtualrealitytimes.com/2014/10/24/oculus-rift-could-make-grueling-trips-to-mars-more-bearable/ ; accessed 7/27/15., Oct-2014
Significant Media Coverage Vincent J. "NASA looks to virtual reality 'holodecks' – powered by Oculus Rift to keep astronauts sane in space." The Independent, October 15, 2014. http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/nasa-looks-to-virtual-reality-holodecks-powered-by-oculus-rift-to-keep-astronauts-sane-in-space-9796738.html , Oct-2014
Significant Media Coverage Dartmouth Department of Public Affairs. "Houston: We Have A Problem…But No Worries, Our Virtual Therapist Is On It." Dartmouth Department of Public Affaris, October 2014. http://www.dartmouth.edu/~opa/statements/virtualtherapist101314.html ; accessed 7/27/15., Oct-2014
Significant Media Coverage Schilling D. "Using Virtual Space Station To Diagnose, Treat Psychosocial Problems." Industry Tap, December 20, 2014. http://www.industrytap.com/using-virtual-space-station-diagnose-treat-psychosocial-problems/23833 , Dec-2014
Significant Media Coverage Basulto D. "How the Oculus Rift could make grueling trips to Mars more tolerable." Washington Post. Innovations section, October 23, 2014. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/innovations/wp/2014/10/23/how-the-oculus-rift-could-make-grueling-trips-to-mars-more-tolerable/ ; accessed 7/27/15., Oct-2014
Significant Media Coverage Melanson D. "NASA's Latest Virtual Reality Is Designed to Soothe Homesick Astronauts." VICE Media's Motherboard, October 18, 2014. http://motherboard.vice.com/read/virtual-reality-for-homesick-astronauts , Oct-2014
Significant Media Coverage Zolfagharifard E. "Could virtual reality prevent depression in ASTRONAUTS? Star Trek-style holodecks may help them escape the isolation of space." The Daily Mail, October 15, 2014. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2793768/could-virtual-reality-prevent-depression-astronauts-star-trek-style-holodecks-help-escape-isolation-space.html , Oct-2014
Significant Media Coverage Temple J. "Can a Virtual Therapist Keep the Peace on the Way to Mars? NASA Wants to Find Out." Recode, October 16, 2014. http://recode.net/2014/10/16/virtual-therapist-on-the-way-to-mars/ , Oct-2014
Significant Media Coverage Lewis T. "Virtual Reality Could Let Astronauts 'Go to the Beach'." LiveScience, October 20, 2014. http://www.livescience.com/48357-virtual-reality-beach-in-space.html , Oct-2014
Significant Media Coverage Serrels M. "Astronauts Flying To Mars Could Be Kept Sane By Virtual Reality And Oculus Rift." Kotaku Australia, October 2014. http://www.kotaku.com.au/2014/10/astronauts-flying-to-mars-could-be-kept-sane-by-virtual-reality-and-oculus-rift/ , Oct-2014
Significant Media Coverage Nagle M. "Is Oculus Rift Headed to Space?" Wearable Tech, October 2014. http://www.wearabletechworld.com/topics/wearable-tech/articles/391990-oculus-rift-headed-space.htm , Oct-2014
Significant Media Coverage Blanchini S. "Virtual Reality, Zero-G and yet more wonders: NASA has it all." The Earthian Hivemind, November 2014. http://earthianhivemind.net/2014/11/27/virtual-reality-zero-g-and-yet-more-wonders-nasa-has-it-all/ , Nov-2014
Significant Media Coverage InHardFocus. "Virtual Reality Therapy for Astronauts in Development." InHardFocus.com, October 2014., Oct-2014
Significant Media Coverage Science-Tech. "Could virtual reality prevent depression in ASTRONAUTS? Star Trek-style holodecks may help them escape the isolation of space." ScienceTech-Blog, October 2014. http://sciencetech-blog.blogspot.com/2014/10/could-virtual-reality-prevent.html , Oct-2014
Significant Media Coverage Santus R. "Astronauts Are Using Oculus Rift to Put Their Minds at Ease." Mashable, October 22, 2014. http://mashable.com/2014/10/22/oculus-rift-astronauts-space/ , Oct-2014
Significant Media Coverage Brewster S. "On the long, long trip to Mars, virtual reality could keep astronauts sane." Gigaom Research, October 16, 2014. https://gigaom.com/2014/10/16/on-the-long-long-trip-to-mars-virtual-reality-could-keep-astronauts-sane/ , Oct-2014
Significant Media Coverage Space Daily Staff Writers. "Houston: We Have A Problem...But No Worries, Our Virtual Therapist Is On It." Space Daily, October 20, 2014. http://www.space-travel.com/reports/Houston_We_Have_A_Problem___But_No_Worries_Our_Virtual_Therapist_Is_On_It_999.html , Oct-2014
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Fiscal Year: FY 2014  Task Last Updated:  10/13/2014 
PI Name: Buckey, Jay C. M.D. 
Project Title: Autonomous Behavioral Health Countermeasures for Spaceflight 
   
Division Name: Human Research 
Program/Discipline--
Element/Subdiscipline:
NSBRI--Neurobehavioral and Psychosocial Factors Team 
 
Joint Agency Name:   TechPort:  Yes 
Human Research Program Elements: (1) HFBP:Human Factors & Behavioral Performance (IRP Rev H)
Human Research Program Risks: (1) Bmed:Risk of Adverse Behavioral Conditions and Psychiatric Disorders
Human Research Program Gaps: (1) BMed01:We need to identify and validate countermeasures that promote individual behavioral health and performance during exploration class missions (IRP Rev F)
Space Biology Element: None
Space Biology Cross-Element Discipline: None
Space Biology Special Category: None
PI Email: jay.buckey@dartmouth.edu  Fax:  603-650-6013 
PI Organization Type: UNIVERSITY  Phone: 603-650-6012  
Organization Name: Dartmouth College 
PI Address 1: Department of Medicine 
PI Address 2: 1 Medical Center Drive 
PI Web Page:  
City: Lebanon  State: NH 
Zip Code: 03756-0001  Congressional District: 
Comments: Address updated 9/2008 
Project Type: GROUND  Solicitation:  2013 HERO NNJ13ZSA002N-Crew Health (FLAGSHIP & NSBRI) 
Start Date: 06/01/2014  End Date:  05/31/2017 
No. of Post Docs:   No. of PhD Degrees:   
No. of PhD Candidates:   No. of Master' Degrees:   
No. of Master's Candidates:   No. of Bachelor's Degrees:   
No. of Bachelor's Candidates:   Monitoring Center:  NSBRI 
Contact Monitor:   Contact Phone:   
Contact Email:  
Flight Program:  
Flight Assignment:

 

Key Personnel Changes/Previous PI:  
COI Name (Institution): Hegel, Mark  Ph.D. ( Dartmouth College )
Loeb, Lorie  M.A. ( Dartmouth College ) 
Grant/Contract No.: NCC 9-58-NBPF03801 
Performance Goal No.:  
Performance Goal Text:

 

Task Description: The goal of this study is to enhance the NSBRI-developed suite of behavioral health countermeasures tailored for astronauts (the Virtual Space Station or VSS), by evaluating them in an Antarctic space analog setting, improving the conflict management content, incorporating an integrated behavioral health assessment, and developing an immersive virtual reality component. This study brings together a team with experience in: (a) computer-based psychological training and treatment programs (Buckey), (b) evaluation and assessment of depression treatments (Hegel), (c) conflict management training (Weiss), (d) digital communication (Loeb), and (d) space psychology (Holland). Members of the investigator team have been involved for over 10 years in the development of a suite of space-relevant behavioral health countermeasures (the VSS). The VSS programs include conflict management training, a depression treatment, and stress management modules.

The aims of the proposed project are to: Aim #1: Customize the Virtual Space Station program for use by astronauts by evaluating the program in an isolated environment (i.e., Antarctica) and collecting detailed information on program use, including user choices, ease of navigation, usability, and acceptability. Aim #2: Modify the existing VSS program to add enhanced conflict resolution content and an integrated behavioral health assessment. Aim #3: Enhance the VSS program to include a mood enhancement system that allows users to experience immersive relaxing situations using virtual reality.

Components of the VSS have been validated in different settings. The conflict content has been tested for usability and acceptability with astronauts, the depression content has been evaluated in an efficacy trial in depressed individuals, and the stress program has been tested in a randomized trial with business and law students. To fully customize the VSS for astronaut use, the program need additional conflict management content, enhanced content for maintaining psychosocial well-being (immersive virtual reality (VR)) and testing in a space-analog environment (Antarctica). This project directly addresses the goal outlined in the research announcement to “Modify and customize for astronaut use a clinically validated suite of products that will determine the need for, and autonomously administer, behavioral health countermeasures. In particular these modules should facilitate conflict resolution and promote psychosocial well-being.”

The project impact would be reducing the risk of mission failure due to psychological and interpersonal problems. The use of VR also has the potential to strengthen the conflict content, and to expand the stress management offerings. Currently, the conflict management conflict includes a simulated interaction with another crewmember. Interactions like these could be more immersive, and potentially more effective, by using VR. Additionally, VR offers the ability to provide immersive, natural environments that could be useful for relaxation, stress reduction. and attention restoration.

Long duration spaceflight can challenge any individual’s psychological well-being. Factors such as confinement, under- or over- work, sleep loss, and monotony can combine to worsen interpersonal tensions or even lead to frank depression. Conflicts can arise with ground control with a resulting loss of trust and teamwork. A chronic dispute between or among crewmembers can destroy team functioning and lead to errors or lack of situational awareness. In the past, a variety of psychological and interpersonal events have occurred in both space and Antarctica, and these events have had a major impact on the missions.

Computer-based behavioral health countermeasures, such as the VSS, can provide an autonomous and confidential way for astronauts to address psychological and interpersonal issues.

 

Rationale for HRP Directed Research:

 

Research Impact/Earth Benefits: 0

 

Task Progress: New project for FY2014.

 

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