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Project Title:  Straight Ahead in Microgravity (U.S. CoI Reschke) Reduce
Images: icon  Fiscal Year: FY 2021 
Division: Human Research 
Research Discipline/Element:
HRP HHC:Human Health Countermeasures
Start Date: 10/15/2016  
End Date: 02/13/2021  
Task Last Updated: 03/31/2021 
Download report in PDF pdf
Principal Investigator/Affiliation:   Reschke, Millard F Ph.D. / NASA Johnson Space Center 
Address:  2101 NASA Pkwy # ONE, SK272 
Neuroscience Laboratories 
Houston , TX 77058-3607 
Email: millard.f.reschke@nasa.gov 
Phone: 281-483-7210  
Congressional District: 36 
Web:  
Organization Type: NASA CENTER 
Organization Name: NASA Johnson Space Center 
Joint Agency:  
Comments:  
Co-Investigator(s)
Affiliation: 
Clement, Gilles  Ph.D. ESA PI: Lyon Neuroscience Research Center, France 
Wood, Scott  Ph.D. NASA Johnson Space Center 
Project Information: Grant/Contract No. Not available 
Responsible Center: NASA JSC 
Grant Monitor: Stenger, Michael  
Center Contact: 281-483-1311 
michael.b.stenger@nasa.gov 
Solicitation / Funding Source: OTHER 
Grant/Contract No.: Not available 
Project Type: FLIGHT 
Flight Program: ISS 
TechPort: No 
No. of Post Docs:
No. of PhD Candidates:
No. of Master's Candidates:
No. of Bachelor's Candidates:
No. of PhD Degrees:
No. of Master's Degrees:
No. of Bachelor's Degrees:
Human Research Program Elements: (1) HHC:Human Health Countermeasures
Human Research Program Risks: (1) Sensorimotor:Risk of Altered Sensorimotor/Vestibular Function Impacting Critical Mission Tasks (Revised as of IRP Rev M)
Human Research Program Gaps: (1) SM-103:Effects of short and long-duration weightlessness, with and without deep-space radiation, on spatial orientation and motion sickness after G transitions. Performance impacts that effect critical mission tasks: G-transition motion sickness, diplopia, hand-eye coordination, autonomic dysfunction, vertigo (IRP Rev L)
Flight Assignment/Project Notes: ISS

NOTE: End date changed to 2/13/2021 per L. Taylor/JSC (Ed., 7/29/2020)

NOTE: End date changed to 9/30/2020 per L. Taylor/JSC (Ed., 8/23/18)

Task Description: Drs. Millard Reschke and Scott Wood are the U.S. Co-Investigators on this European Space Agency (ESA)-sponsored project (updated September 2019); ESA Principal Investigator is Gilles Clément, Ph.D., Lyon Neuroscience Research Center, France.

The subjective straight-ahead direction is a very basic perceptual reference for spatial orientation, movement, and locomotion. The perceived straight-ahead along the horizontal and vertical meridian is largely determined by both otolith and somatosensory inputs. Otolith and somatosensory inputs are altered in microgravity and will change this reference point. Adaptive processes are taking place within the central nervous system to take into account the new environment and compute new spatial egocentric and world-centered representations or frames of reference. This project will measure and monitor how these frames change over time by investigating eye movements and perceptual reports.

The three specific aims include:

Specific Aim 1: Near & Far Fixation. The first aim is to examine binocular eye movements when subjects fixate on actual targets (normal vision) and then imagine these same targets (occluded vision) in the straight-ahead direction relative to their heading. Initially, the subjects’ gaze direction and fixation distance will be recorded as they explore the space around them using eye movements in darkness. Next, they will be asked to fixate on straight ahead head-fixed targets located at a near distance (arm’s length, ~0.5 m) and far distance (beyond 2 m). Responses will be compared with different tilt orientations, including pitch tilt forward and backward up to 15 deg. During separate trials, subjects will attempt to maintain fixation on a far Earth-fixed target with and without a vibrotactile sensory aid that indicates how far one has tilted relative to the straight ahead direction.

Specific Aim 2: Eye and Arm Movements. The second aim is to examine directed horizontal and vertical eye and arm movements, relative to Earth coordinates and relative to the subject’s head/body reference. This task will be performed with the subject upright and then tilted in roll directions up to 30 deg. The trajectory of the directed eye and arm movements made in darkness are expected to reflect perceptual tilt errors.

Specific Aim 3: Near and Far VOR. The third aim is to examine the influence of target distance on the vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) during vertical translation movements. Subjects will stare at actual visual targets (normal vision) at various distances (near and far) in the straight-ahead direction while passively translated up and down using a spring-loaded chair. Vision will then be occluded, and the VOR will be recorded as the subject continues to fixate on the same target locations during translation. In addition to these periodic oscillations (~2.0 Hz), eye movements will also be recorded with vision during unpredictable passive head thrusts up and down using the spring-loaded chair.

For each of our specific aims above, our general hypothesis is that responses will be influenced by how accurately subjects perceive their spatial orientation. We will test this hypothesis by comparing responses with and without visual feedback. We also hypothesize for Specific Aim 1 that a vibrotactile sensory aid of tilt position will improve spatial orientation and this reduces gaze fixation errors.

Study Participants: Eight International Space Station (ISS) crewmembers were recruited to participate in three preflight sessions (between 120 and 60 days before launch) and then three postflight sessions on R+1 day, R+4 (±2) days, and R+8 (±2) days. Sixteen ground-based subjects were recruited to participate in a ground control study for up to 3 sessions. This study was implemented by the European Space Agency and is not carried in the U.S. ISS utilization plans.

Risk Characterization, Quantification\Evidence: This task will contribute to gap closure by providing information regarding any changes in an individual's egocentric reference that might have negative consequences on evaluating the direction of an approaching object or on the accuracy of reaching movements. This information is important for understanding the problems associated with the long-term effects of microgravity on astronauts and how they re-adapt to the return of gravitational forces on Earth or other planetary surfaces.

Countermeasure\Prototype Hardware or Software: This task will contribute to gap closure by evaluating how vibrotactile feedback of reference frames can be used to improve spatial orientation of fixation on space-fixed targets.

Research Impact/Earth Benefits: This study addressed adaptive changes in spatial orientation as assessed by oculomotor and pointing measures related to the subjective straight ahead, and the use of a vibrotactile sensory aid to reduce perceptual errors. On Earth, there is evidence that patients with vestibular or cerebral lesions present a deviation in their subjective straight-ahead direction. We have confirmed that a sensory aid countermeasure, vibrotactile stimulation, improves spatial awareness in astronauts after return from spaceflight. This countermeasure may be also useful for clinical populations. The results of our flight study have also practical implications in the design of man-machine interfaces. Changes in line of sight in reduced gravity affect crew posture and reach, display orientation, and other visual cues, which should be considered in hardware and operations design.

Task Progress & Bibliography Information FY2021 
Task Progress: Subjects: Eight International Space Station (ISS) crewmembers were recruited to participate in three preflight sessions (between 120 and 60 days before launch) and then three postflight sessions on R+1 day (+24 hrs following direct return to Johnson Space Center-JSC), R+4 (± 2) days, and R+8 (± 2) days. An informed consent briefing has been delivered to 26 ISS crewmembers between March 2014 and May 2018. The last crewmember was recruited on May 2018 after which the enrollment was closed. Preflight data was initiated in 2015 following approval for this study to be implemented for pre- and post-flight testing only. One subject was withdrawn from the study due to changes in post-flight test plans. Eight ISS crewmember (5 male, 3 female; mean age 49.6 ± 9.3 years) have completed pre- and post-flight data collection. The mean duration of their spaceflight was 188 ± 79 days.219

Specific Aim 1

The amplitude of perceived tilt during passive tilt in roll (± 25º) significantly increased on R+1 compared to preflight. However, the amplitude of perceived tilt during passive tilt in pitch (± 15º) did not change significantly on R+1 compared to preflight. The perceived amplitude of translation tended to increase during roll tilt and during pitch tilt after spaceflight. The perception of distances of visual targets ranging from 0.5 m to ~2 m was affected by target distance, with greater errors with near targets =1 m. However, the distance of a visual target was not affected by spaceflight within the timeframe of our tests. The eye movement data indicate that the amplitude of ocular counter-rolling during tilt in roll was reduced for several days after return from long-duration spaceflight. This decrease in amplitude was not accompanied by changes in the asymmetry of OCR between right and left head tilt (Reschke et al. 2018).

Specific Aim 2

When subjects imagined a laboratory-fixed target while being tilted in pitch at angles varying from 15º backward to 15º forward, the vertical eye position shifted downward ~5º compared to when they were actually looking at the target, thus indicating a downward shift of the subjective straight-ahead. The addition of a vibrotactile feedback of tilt when the subjects imagined the targets partially compensated for this downward shift of the subjective straight-ahead. This result confirms that a vibrotactile feedback is a useful countermeasure after landing for mitigating the effects of spaceflight on spatial disorientation and manual control (Clément et al. 2018; Reschke & Clément 2018).

Specific Aim 3

The translational vestibulo-ocular reflex (tVOR) measurements during vertical oscillations were analyzed using a method that has been recently published (Clément et al. 2019). The tVOR at high frequency is an important otolith-mediated response to stabilize gaze during natural locomotion. The tVOR was significantly increased with near viewing of actual targets. This effect was less pronounced with subjects imagining these targets in darkness. A decrease in the tVOR gain was observed in some subjects, which could potentially alter gaze fixation during locomotion. Therefore, the results of this study confirm the potential contribution of a spaceflight-adapted vestibular system in locomotion impairment after spaceflight.

CONCLUSIONS

The results of this study indicate that after spaceflight, there is an over-estimation of perceived roll tilt, but that there is no change in perceived pitch tilt. Also, the perceived amplitude of translation tends to increase during roll and pitch tilt after spaceflight.

Ocular counter-rolling during roll tilt decreases after long-duration spaceflight.

The subjective straight-ahead shifts downward after spaceflight (~ 5º). A vibrotactile feedback of tilt partially compensates for this downward shift in some subjects.

One primary limitation of this study is the delayed testing due to the time required for direct return to JSC. Recent field tests (Reschke et al. 2020) suggest that any impairments observed following +24 hrs underestimate the initial decrement soon after landing.

The observed changes in egocentric reference might impair an individual’s ability to evaluate the direction of an approaching object or the accuracy of their reaching movements or locomotion. The use of vibrotactile sensory aid partially compensates to correct the representation of the body tilted relative to gravity and could partially help in mitigating risks caused by this loss of spatial orientation.

References

Reschke MF, Wood SJ, Clément G (2018) Ocular counter rolling in astronauts after short-and long-duration spaceflight. Scientific Reports 8: 7747.

Clément G, Wood SJ, Paloski WE, Reschke MF (2019) Changes in gain of horizontal vestibulo-ocular reflex during spaceflight: Journal of Vestibular Research 29: 241-251.

Clément G, Reschke MF, Wood SJ (2018) Vibrotactile feedback improves manual control of tilt after spaceflight. Frontiers in Physiology 9: 1850.

Reschke MF, Clément G (2018) Vestibular and sensorimotor dysfunction during spaceflight. Current Pathobiology Reports6 (3): 177-183.

Reschke MF, Kozlovskaya IB, Lysova N, Kitov V, Rukavishnikov I, Kofman IS, Tomilovskaya ES, Rosenberg MJ, Osetsky N, Fomina E, Grishin A, Wood SJ. (2020) [Joint Russian-USA field test: Implications for deconditioned crew following long duration spaceflight]. Aviakosm Ekolog Med. 2020;54(6):94-100.

Bibliography Type: Description: (Last Updated: 12/02/2021) 

Show Cumulative Bibliography Listing
 
Articles in Other Journals or Periodicals Goswami N, White O, Blaber A, Evans J, van Loon JWA, Clément G. "Human physiology adaptation to altered gravity environments." Physiological Reviews, in press as of April 2021. , Apr-2021
Articles in Peer-reviewed Journals Macaulay TR, Peters BT, Wood SJ, Clément GR, Oddsson L, Bloomberg JJ. "Developing proprioceptive countermeasures to mitigate postural and locomotor control deficits after long-duration spaceflight." Front Syst Neurosci. 2021 Apr 27;15:658985. Review. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnsys.2021.658985 ; PMID: 33986648; PMCID: PMC8111171 , Apr-2021
Project Title:  Straight Ahead in Microgravity (U.S. CoI Reschke) Reduce
Images: icon  Fiscal Year: FY 2020 
Division: Human Research 
Research Discipline/Element:
HRP HHC:Human Health Countermeasures
Start Date: 10/15/2016  
End Date: 02/13/2021  
Task Last Updated: 03/08/2020 
Download report in PDF pdf
Principal Investigator/Affiliation:   Reschke, Millard F Ph.D. / NASA Johnson Space Center 
Address:  2101 NASA Pkwy # ONE, SK272 
Neuroscience Laboratories 
Houston , TX 77058-3607 
Email: millard.f.reschke@nasa.gov 
Phone: 281-483-7210  
Congressional District: 36 
Web:  
Organization Type: NASA CENTER 
Organization Name: NASA Johnson Space Center 
Joint Agency:  
Comments:  
Co-Investigator(s)
Affiliation: 
Clement, Gilles  Ph.D. ESA PI: Lyon Neuroscience Research Center, France 
Wood, Scott Jonathan Ph.D. NASA Johnson Space Center 
Key Personnel Changes / Previous PI: September 2019: Dr. Scott Wood resumed his role as Co-Investigator.
Project Information: Grant/Contract No. Not available 
Responsible Center: NASA JSC 
Grant Monitor: Norsk, Peter  
Center Contact:  
Peter.norsk@nasa.gov 
Solicitation / Funding Source: OTHER 
Grant/Contract No.: Not available 
Project Type: FLIGHT 
Flight Program: ISS 
TechPort: No 
No. of Post Docs:
No. of PhD Candidates:
No. of Master's Candidates:
No. of Bachelor's Candidates:
No. of PhD Degrees:
No. of Master's Degrees:
No. of Bachelor's Degrees:
Human Research Program Elements: (1) HHC:Human Health Countermeasures
Human Research Program Risks: (1) Sensorimotor:Risk of Altered Sensorimotor/Vestibular Function Impacting Critical Mission Tasks (Revised as of IRP Rev M)
Human Research Program Gaps: (1) SM-103:Effects of short and long-duration weightlessness, with and without deep-space radiation, on spatial orientation and motion sickness after G transitions. Performance impacts that effect critical mission tasks: G-transition motion sickness, diplopia, hand-eye coordination, autonomic dysfunction, vertigo (IRP Rev L)
Flight Assignment/Project Notes: ISS

NOTE: End date changed to 2/13/2021 per L. Taylor/JSC (Ed., 7/29/2020)

NOTE: End date changed to 9/30/2020 per L. Taylor/JSC (Ed., 8/23/18)

Task Description: Drs. Millard Reschke and Scott Wood are the U.S. Co-Investigators on this European Space Agency (ESA)-sponsored project (updated September 2019); ESA Principal Investigator is Gilles Clément, Ph.D., Lyon Neuroscience Research Center, France.

The subjective straight-ahead direction is a very basic perceptual reference for spatial orientation, movement, and locomotion. The perceived straight-ahead along the horizontal and vertical meridian is largely determined by both otolith and somatosensory inputs. Otolith and somatosensory inputs are altered in microgravity and will change this reference point. Adaptive processes are taking place within the central nervous system to take into account the new environment and compute new spatial egocentric and world-centered representations or frames of reference. This project will measure and monitor how these frames change over time by investigating eye movements and perceptual reports.

The three specific aims include:

Specific Aim 1: Near & Far Fixation. The first aim is to examine binocular eye movements when subjects fixate on actual targets (normal vision) and then imagine these same targets (occluded vision) in the straight-ahead direction relative to their heading. Initially, the subjects’ gaze direction and fixation distance will be recorded as they explore the space around them using eye movements in darkness. Next, they will be asked to fixate on straight ahead head-fixed targets located at a near distance (arm’s length, ~0.5 m) and far distance (beyond 2 m). Responses will be compared with different tilt orientations, including pitch tilt forward and backward up to 15 deg. During separate trials, subjects will attempt to maintain fixation on a far Earth-fixed target with and without a vibrotactile sensory aid that indicates how far one has tilted relative to the straight ahead direction.

Specific Aim 2: Eye and Arm Movements. The second aim is to examine directed horizontal and vertical eye and arm movements, relative to Earth coordinates and relative to the subject’s head/body reference. This task will be performed with the subject upright and then tilted in roll directions up to 30 deg. The trajectory of the directed eye and arm movements made in darkness are expected to reflect perceptual tilt errors.

Specific Aim 3: Near and Far VOR. The third aim is to examine the influence of target distance on the vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) during vertical translation movements. Subjects will stare at actual visual targets (normal vision) at various distances (near and far) in the straight-ahead direction while passively translated up and down using a spring-loaded chair. Vision will then be occluded, and the VOR will be recorded as the subject continues to fixate on the same target locations during translation. In addition to these periodic oscillations (~2.0 Hz), eye movements will also be recorded with vision during unpredictable passive head thrusts up and down using the spring-loaded chair.

For each of our specific aims above, our general hypothesis is that responses will be influenced by how accurately subjects perceive their spatial orientation. We will test this hypothesis by comparing responses with and without visual feedback. We also hypothesize for Specific Aim 1 that a vibrotactile sensory aid of tilt position will improve spatial orientation and this reduces gaze fixation errors.

Study Participants: Eight International Space Station (ISS) crewmembers will be recruited to participate in three preflight sessions (between 120 and 60 days before launch) and then three postflight sessions on R+0/1 day, R+4 (±2) days, and R+8 (±2) days. Sixteen ground-based subjects will be recruited to participate in a ground control study for up to 3 sessions. A limited number of subjects will also participate in parabolic flight study as resources permit. This study is being implemented by the European Space Agency and is not carried in the U.S. ISS utilization plans.

Risk Characterization, Quantification\Evidence: This task will contribute to gap closure by providing information regarding any changes in an individual's egocentric reference that might have negative consequences on evaluating the direction of an approaching object or on the accuracy of reaching movements. This information is important for understanding the problems associated with the long-term effects of microgravity on astronauts and how they re-adapt to the return of gravitational forces on Earth or other planetary surfaces.

Countermeasure\Prototype Hardware or Software: This task will contribute to gap closure by evaluating how vibrotactile feedback of reference frames can be used to improve spatial orientation of fixation on space-fixed targets.

Research Impact/Earth Benefits: This study will address adaptive changes in spatial orientation as assessed by oculomotor and pointing measures related to the subjective straight ahead, and the use of a vibrotactile sensory aid to reduce perceptual errors. On Earth, there is evidence that patients with vestibular or cerebral lesions present a deviation in their subjective straight-ahead direction. We will test a possible sensory aid countermeasure, vibrotactile stimulation, to improve spatial awareness. This countermeasure may be useful for both astronauts and clinical populations. The results of our flight study also have practical implications in the design of man-machine interfaces. Changes in line of sight in reduced gravity affect crew posture and reach, display orientation, and other visual cues, which should be considered in hardware and operations design.

Task Progress & Bibliography Information FY2020 
Task Progress: Flight Study

Eight International Space Station (ISS) crewmembers were recruited to participate in three preflight sessions (between 120 and 60 days before launch) and then three postflight sessions on R+0/1 day, R+4 (± 2) days, and R+8 (± 2) days. An informed consent briefing was delivered to 26 ISS crewmembers between March 2014 and May 2018. The last crewmember has been recruited on May 2018 after which the enrollment was closed. Preflight data was initiated in 2015 following approval for this study to be implemented for pre- and post-flight testing only. One subject was withdrawn from the study due to changes in post-flight test plans. Eight ISS crewmember have completed pre- and post-flight data collection.

Preliminary analysis of the perception data on 6 subjects indicates that the amplitude of perceived tilt during passive tilt in roll (± 25º) increased on R+1 compared to preflight. However, the amplitude of perceived tilt during passive tilt in pitch (± 15º) did not change significantly on R+1 compared to preflight. The perceived amplitude of translation tended to increase during roll tilt and during pitch tilt after spaceflight. The perception of distances of visual targets ranging from 0.5 m to ~2 m was not affected by spaceflight. However, the distance of a visual target located at ~4 m was underestimated on R+1.

The eye movement data indicate that the amplitude of ocular counter-rolling during tilt in roll was reduced for several days after return from long-duration spaceflight. This decrease in amplitude was not accompanied by changes in the asymmetry of OCR (ocular counter rolling) between right and left head tilt (Reschke et al., 2018).

The translational vestibulo-ocular reflex (tVOR) measurements during vertical oscillations are being analyzed using a method that has been recently published (Clément et al., 2019). The tVOR at high frequency is an important otolith-mediated response to stabilize gaze during natural locomotion. A decrease in the tVOR gain could potentially alter gaze fixation during locomotion. Therefore, the results of this study have implications for a spaceflight-adapted vestibular system during locomotion.

When subjects imagined a laboratory-fixed target while being tilted in pitch at angles varying from 15º backward to 15º forward, the vertical eye position shifted downward ~5º compared to when they were actually looking at the target, thus indicating a downward shift of the subjective straight-ahead. The addition of a vibrotactile feedback of tilt when the subjects imagined the targets partially compensated for this downward shift of the subjective straight-ahead. This result confirms that a vibrotactile feedback is a useful countermeasure after landing for mitigating the effects of spaceflight on spatial disorientation and manual control (Clément et al., 2018; Reschke & Clément 2018).

Ground Control Study

Test-retest repeatability. A ground control study was completed to obtain normative data on 16 healthy non-astronaut subjects participating in three sessions similar to the astronaut preflight data sessions. A preliminary analysis comparing the responses of these 16 subjects across three sessions separated by about one month indicates that there is no learning effect induced by the repetition of the tests. In addition, the responses of the eight crewmembers tested preflight are within the range of those measured with the 16 non-astronaut subjects.

References

Reschke MF, Wood SJ, Clément G (2018) Ocular counter rolling in astronauts after short-and long-duration spaceflight. Scientific Reports8: 7747.

Clément G, Wood SJ, Paloski WE, Reschke MF (2019) Changes in gain of horizontal vestibulo-ocular reflex during spaceflight: Journal of Vestibular Research 29: 241-251.

Clément G, Reschke MF, Wood SJ (2018) Vibrotactile feedback improves manual control of tilt after spaceflight. Frontiers in Physiology 9: 1850.

Reschke MF, Clément G (2018) Vestibular and sensorimotor dysfunction during spaceflight. Current Pathobiology Reports6 (3): 177-183,

Bibliography Type: Description: (Last Updated: 12/02/2021) 

Show Cumulative Bibliography Listing
 
Abstracts for Journals and Proceedings Clément G, Reschke MF, Wood SJ. "Changes in perceived straight-ahead in astronauts after spaceflight." Human Spaceflight and Weightlessness Science Workshop, Toulouse (France), September 16-18, 2018.

Human Spaceflight and Weightlessness Science Workshop, Toulouse (France), September 16-18, 2018. , Sep-2018

Articles in Peer-reviewed Journals Clément G, Reschke MF. "Relationship between motion sickness susceptibility and vestibulo-ocular reflex gain and phase." J Vestib Res. 2018;28(3-4):295-304. https://doi.org/10.3233/VES-180632 ; PMID: 29689763 , Nov-2018
Articles in Peer-reviewed Journals Clément G, Reschke MF, Wood SJ. "Vibrotactile feedback improves manual control of tilt after spaceflight." Front Physiol. 2018 Dec 19;9:1850. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2018.01850 ; PubMed PMID: 30618848; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6305736 , Dec-2018
Articles in Peer-reviewed Journals Clément G, Wood SJ, Paloski WE, Reschke MF. "Changes in gain of horizontal vestibulo-ocular reflex during spaceflight." Journal of Vestibular Research, 2019;29(5):241-51. https://doi.org/10.3233/VES-190670 ; PubMed PMID: 31306145 , Nov-2019
Articles in Peer-reviewed Journals Reschke MF, Wood SJ, Clément G. "Ocular counter rolling in astronauts after short- and long-duration spaceflight." Scientific Reports. 2018 May 17;8(1):7747. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-26159-0 ; PubMed PMID: 29773841; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5958131 , May-2018
Articles in Peer-reviewed Journals Reschke MF, Clément G. "Vestibular and sensorimotor dysfunction during space flight." Current Pathobiology Reports. 2018;6(3):177-83. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40139-018-0173-y , Jul-2018
Project Title:  Straight Ahead in Microgravity (U.S. CoI Reschke) Reduce
Images: icon  Fiscal Year: FY 2018 
Division: Human Research 
Research Discipline/Element:
HRP HHC:Human Health Countermeasures
Start Date: 10/15/2016  
End Date: 09/30/2020  
Task Last Updated: 08/22/2018 
Download report in PDF pdf
Principal Investigator/Affiliation:   Reschke, Millard F Ph.D. / NASA Johnson Space Center 
Address:  2101 NASA Pkwy # ONE, SK272 
Neuroscience Laboratories 
Houston , TX 77058-3607 
Email: millard.f.reschke@nasa.gov 
Phone: 281-483-7210  
Congressional District: 36 
Web:  
Organization Type: NASA CENTER 
Organization Name: NASA Johnson Space Center 
Joint Agency:  
Comments:  
Co-Investigator(s)
Affiliation: 
Clement, Gilles  Ph.D. ESA PI: Lyon Neuroscience Research Center 
Key Personnel Changes / Previous PI: October 2016: Dr. Scott Wood is no longer a Co-Investigator due to his new position at NASA. He remains a Collaborator and will be involved only in data analysis and publication.
Project Information: Grant/Contract No. Not available 
Responsible Center: NASA JSC 
Grant Monitor: Norsk, Peter  
Center Contact:  
Peter.norsk@nasa.gov 
Solicitation / Funding Source: OTHER 
Grant/Contract No.: Not available 
Project Type: FLIGHT 
Flight Program: ISS 
TechPort: No 
No. of Post Docs:  
No. of PhD Candidates:  
No. of Master's Candidates:  
No. of Bachelor's Candidates:  
No. of PhD Degrees:  
No. of Master's Degrees:  
No. of Bachelor's Degrees:  
Human Research Program Elements: (1) HHC:Human Health Countermeasures
Human Research Program Risks: (1) Sensorimotor:Risk of Altered Sensorimotor/Vestibular Function Impacting Critical Mission Tasks (Revised as of IRP Rev M)
Human Research Program Gaps: (1) SM-103:Effects of short and long-duration weightlessness, with and without deep-space radiation, on spatial orientation and motion sickness after G transitions. Performance impacts that effect critical mission tasks: G-transition motion sickness, diplopia, hand-eye coordination, autonomic dysfunction, vertigo (IRP Rev L)
Flight Assignment/Project Notes: ISS

NOTE: End date changed to 9/30/2020 per L. Taylor/JSC (Ed., 8/23/18)

Task Description: Dr. Millard Reschke is the U.S. Co-Investigator on this European Space Agency (ESA)-sponsored project; ESA Principal Investigator is Gilles Clément, Ph.D., Lyon Neuroscience Research Center, France. Previous U.S. Co-Investigator was Dr. Scott Wood until October 2016.

The subjective straight-ahead direction is a very basic perceptual reference for spatial orientation, movement, and locomotion. The perceived straight-ahead along the horizontal and vertical meridian is largely determined by both otolith and somatosensory inputs. Otolith and somatosensory inputs are altered in microgravity and will change this reference point. Adaptive processes are taking place within the central nervous system to take into account the new environment and compute new spatial egocentric and world-centered representations or frames of reference. This project will measure and monitor how these frames change over time by investigating eye movements and perceptual reports.

The three specific aims include:

Specific Aim 1: Near & Far Fixation. The first aim is to examine binocular eye movements when subjects fixate on actual targets (normal vision) and then imagine these same targets (occluded vision) in the straight-ahead direction relative to their heading. Initially the subjects’ gaze direction and fixation distance will be recorded as they explore the space around them using eye movements in darkness. Next they will be asked to fixate on straight ahead head-fixed targets located at near distance (arm’s length, ~0.5 m) and far distance (beyond 2 m). Responses will be compared with different tilt orientations, including pitch tilt forward and backward up to 15 deg. During separate trials, subjects will attempt to maintain fixation on a far Earth-fixed target with and without a vibrotactile sensory aid that indicates how far one has tilted relative to the straight ahead direction.

Specific Aim 2: Eye and Arm Movements. The second aim is to examine directed horizontal and vertical eye and arm movements, relative to Earth coordinates and relative to the subject’s head/body reference. This task will be performed with the subject upright and then tilted in roll directions up to 30 deg. The trajectory of directed eye and arm movements made in darkness are expected to reflect perceptual tilt errors.

Specific Aim 3: Near and Far VOR. The third aim is to examine the influence of target distance on the vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) during vertical translation movements. Subjects will stare at actual visual targets (normal vision) at various distances (near and far) in the straight-ahead direction while passively translated up and down using a spring-loaded chair. Vision will then be occluded, and the VOR will be recorded as the subject continues to fixate on the same target locations during translation. In addition to these periodic oscillations (~2.0 Hz), eye movements will also be recorded with vision during unpredictable passive head thrusts up and down using the spring-loaded chair.

For each of our specific aims above, our general hypothesis is that responses will be influenced by how accurately subjects perceive their spatial orientation. We will test this hypothesis by comparing responses with and without visual feedback. We also hypothesize for Specific Aim 1 that a vibrotactile sensory aid of tilt position will improve spatial orientation and this reduce gaze fixation errors.

Study Participants: Eight International Space Station (ISS) crewmembers will be recruited to participate in three preflight sessions (between 120 and 60 days before launch) and then three postflight sessions on R+0/1 day, R+4 (±2) days, and R+8 (±2) days. Sixteen ground-based subjects will be recruited to participate in a ground control study for up to 3 sessions. A limited number of subjects will also participate in parabolic flight study as resources permit. This study is being implemented by the European Space Agency and is not carried in the U.S. ISS utilization plans.

Risk Characterization, Quantification\Evidence: This task will contribute to gap closure by providing information regarding any changes in an individual's egocentric reference that might have negative consequences on evaluating the direction of an approaching object or on the accuracy of reaching movements. This information is important for understanding the problems associated with long-term effects of microgravity on astronauts and how they re-adapt to the return of gravitational forces on Earth or other planetary surfaces.

Countermeasure\Prototype Hardware or Software: This task will contribute to gap closure by evaluating how a vibrotactile feedback of reference frames can be used to improve spatial orientation of fixation on space-fixed targets.

Research Impact/Earth Benefits: This study will address adaptive changes in spatial orientation as assessed by oculomotor and pointing measures related to the subjective straight ahead, and the use of a vibrotactile sensory aid to reduce perceptual errors. On Earth, there is evidence that patients with vestibular or cerebral lesions present a deviation in their subjective straight-ahead direction. We will test a possible sensory aid countermeasure, vibrotactile stimulation, to improve spatial awareness. This countermeasure may be useful for both astronauts and clinical populations. The results of our flight study also have practical implications in the design of man-machine interfaces. Changes in line of sight in reduced gravity affect crew posture and reach, display orientation, and other visual cues, which should be considered in hardware and operations design.

Task Progress & Bibliography Information FY2018 
Task Progress: TASK PROGRESS

Flight Study

Eight International Space Station (ISS) crewmembers will be recruited to participate in three preflight sessions (between 120 and 60 days before launch) and then three post-flight sessions on R+0/1 day, R+4 (± 2) days, and R+8 (± 2) days. Preflight data was initiated in 2015 following approval for this study to be implemented for pre- and post-flight testing only. To date, five ISS crewmembers have completed pre- and post-flight data collection. Preflight data collection has been obtained from two other crewmembers, although one of these subjects was withdrawn from the study due to changes in post-flight test plans.

Preliminary analysis of the perception data indicates that the amplitude of perceived tilt and translation during passive roll tilt decreased on R+1 compared to preflight. However, the amplitude of perceived tilt and translation during passive pitch tilt was unchanged on R+1 compared to preflight. The perception of distances ranging from 0.5 m to 4 m was not affected by spaceflight.

The eye movement data are being analyzed using a method that has been recently published (Reschke et al. 2018). The amplitude of ocular counter-rolling reflex during roll tilt was reduced for several days after return from long-duration spaceflight. This decrease in amplitude was not accompanied by changes in the asymmetry of OCR between right and left head tilt (Reschke et al. 2018).

Ground Control Studies

A preliminary analysis comparing the responses of 16 healthy non-astronaut subjects across three sessions separated by about one month indicates that there is no learning effect induced by the repetition of the tests (Clément et al. 2018). In addition, the responses of the seven crewmembers tested preflight so far are within the range of those measured with the 16 non-astronaut subjects.

[Ed. note: see below Bibliography section for references]

Bibliography Type: Description: (Last Updated: 12/02/2021) 

Show Cumulative Bibliography Listing
 
Abstracts for Journals and Proceedings Clément G, Campbell D, Reschke MF. "Evaluating the subjective straight ahead before and after spaceflight." 2018 NASA Human Research Program Investigators’ Workshop, Galveston, TX, January 22-25, 2018.

2018 NASA Human Research Program Investigators’ Workshop, Galveston, TX, January 22-25, 2018. , Jan-2018

Articles in Peer-reviewed Journals Reschke MF, Wood SJ, Clément G. "Effect of spaceflight on the spatial orientation of the vestibulo-ocular reflex during eccentric roll rotation: A case report." J Vestib Res. 2018;27(5-6):243-9. https://doi.org/10.3233/VES-170631 ; PubMed PMID: 29400689 , Feb-2018
Articles in Peer-reviewed Journals Reschke MF, Wood SJ, Clément G. "Ocular counter rolling in astronauts after short- and long-duration spaceflight." Scientific Reports. In press as of March 2018. , Mar-2018
Project Title:  Straight Ahead in Microgravity (U.S. CoI Reschke) Reduce
Images: icon  Fiscal Year: FY 2017 
Division: Human Research 
Research Discipline/Element:
HRP HHC:Human Health Countermeasures
Start Date: 10/15/2016  
End Date: 10/14/2018  
Task Last Updated: 05/10/2017 
Download report in PDF pdf
Principal Investigator/Affiliation:   Reschke, Millard F Ph.D. / NASA Johnson Space Center 
Address:  2101 NASA Pkwy # ONE, SK272 
Neuroscience Laboratories 
Houston , TX 77058-3607 
Email: millard.f.reschke@nasa.gov 
Phone: 281-483-7210  
Congressional District: 36 
Web:  
Organization Type: NASA CENTER 
Organization Name: NASA Johnson Space Center 
Joint Agency:  
Comments:  
Co-Investigator(s)
Affiliation: 
Clement, Gilles  Ph.D. ESA PI: Lyon Neuroscience Research Center 
Key Personnel Changes / Previous PI: October 2016: Dr. Scott Wood is no longer a Co-Investigator due to his new position at NASA. He remains a Collaborator and will be involved only in data analysis and publication.
Project Information: Grant/Contract No. Not available 
Responsible Center: NASA JSC 
Grant Monitor: Norsk, Peter  
Center Contact:  
Peter.norsk@nasa.gov 
Solicitation / Funding Source: OTHER 
Grant/Contract No.: Not available 
Project Type: FLIGHT 
Flight Program:  
TechPort: No 
No. of Post Docs:  
No. of PhD Candidates:  
No. of Master's Candidates:  
No. of Bachelor's Candidates:  
No. of PhD Degrees:  
No. of Master's Degrees:  
No. of Bachelor's Degrees:  
Human Research Program Elements: (1) HHC:Human Health Countermeasures
Human Research Program Risks: (1) Sensorimotor:Risk of Altered Sensorimotor/Vestibular Function Impacting Critical Mission Tasks (Revised as of IRP Rev M)
Human Research Program Gaps: (1) SM-103:Effects of short and long-duration weightlessness, with and without deep-space radiation, on spatial orientation and motion sickness after G transitions. Performance impacts that effect critical mission tasks: G-transition motion sickness, diplopia, hand-eye coordination, autonomic dysfunction, vertigo (IRP Rev L)
Task Description: Dr. Millard Reschke is the U.S. Co-Investigator on this European Space Agency (ESA)-sponsored project; ESA Principal Investigator is Gilles Clément, Ph.D., Lyon Neuroscience Research Center, France. Previous U.S. Co-Investigator was Dr. Scott Wood until October 2016.

The subjective straight-ahead direction is a very basic perceptual reference for spatial orientation, movement, and locomotion. The perceived straight-ahead along the horizontal and vertical meridian is largely determined by both otolith and somatosensory inputs. Otolith and somatosensory inputs are altered in microgravity and will change this reference point. Adaptive processes are taking place within the central nervous system to take into account the new environment and compute new spatial egocentric and world-centered representations or frames of reference. This project will measure and monitor how these frames change over time by investigating eye movements and perceptual reports.

The three specific aims include:

Specific Aim 1: Near & Far Fixation. The first aim is to examine binocular eye movements when subjects fixate on actual targets (normal vision) and then imagine these same targets (occluded vision) in the straight-ahead direction relative to their heading. Initially the subjects’ gaze direction and fixation distance will be recorded as they explore the space around them using eye movements in darkness. Next they will be asked to fixate on straight ahead head-fixed targets located at near distance (arm’s length, ~0.5 m) and far distance (beyond 2 m). Responses will be compared with different tilt orientations, including pitch tilt forward and backward up to 15 deg. During separate trials, subjects will attempt to maintain fixation on a far Earth-fixed target with and without a vibrotactile sensory aid that indicates how far one has tilted relative to the straight ahead direction.

Specific Aim 2: Eye and Arm Movements. The second aim is to examine directed horizontal and vertical eye and arm movements, relative to Earth coordinates and relative to the subject’s head/body reference. This task will be performed with the subject upright and then tilted in roll directions up to 30 deg. The trajectory of directed eye and arm movements made in darkness are expected to reflect perceptual tilt errors.

Specific Aim 3: Near and Far VOR. The third aim is to examine the influence of target distance on the vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) during vertical translation movements. Subjects will stare at actual visual targets (normal vision) at various distances (near and far) in the straight-ahead direction while passively translated up and down using a spring-loaded chair. Vision will then be occluded, and the VOR will be recorded as the subject continues to fixate on the same target locations during translation. In addition to these periodic oscillations (~2.0 Hz), eye movements will also be recorded with vision during unpredictable passive head thrusts up and down using the spring-loaded chair.

For each of our specific aims above, our general hypothesis is that responses will be influenced by how accurately subjects perceive their spatial orientation. We will test this hypothesis by comparing responses with and without visual feedback. We also hypothesize for Specific Aim 1 that a vibrotactile sensory aid of tilt position will improve spatial orientation and this reduce gaze fixation errors.

Study Participants: Eight International Space Station (ISS) crewmembers will be recruited to participate in three preflight sessions (between 120 and 60 days before launch) and then three postflight sessions on R+0/1 day, R+4 (±2) days, and R+8 (±2) days. Sixteen ground-based subjects will be recruited to participate in a ground control study for up to 3 sessions. A limited number of subjects will also participate in parabolic flight study as resources permit. This study is being implemented by the European Space Agency and is not carried in the U.S. ISS utilization plans.

Risk Characterization, Quantification\Evidence: This task will contribute to gap closure by providing information regarding any changes in an individual's egocentric reference that might have negative consequences on evaluating the direction of an approaching object or on the accuracy of reaching movements. This information is important for understanding the problems associated with long-term effects of microgravity on astronauts and how they re-adapt to the return of gravitational forces on Earth or other planetary surfaces.

Countermeasure\Prototype Hardware or Software: This task will contribute to gap closure by evaluating how a vibrotactile feedback of reference frames can be used to improve spatial orientation of fixation on space-fixed targets.

Research Impact/Earth Benefits: This study will address adaptive changes in spatial orientation as assessed by oculomotor and pointing measures related to the subjective straight ahead, and the use of a vibrotactile sensory aid to reduce perceptual errors. On Earth, there is evidence that patients with vestibular or cerebral lesions present a deviation in their subjective straight-ahead direction. We will test a possible sensory aid countermeasure, vibrotactile stimulation, to improve spatial awareness. This countermeasure may be useful for both astronauts and clinical populations. The results of our flight study also have practical implications in the design of man-machine interfaces. Changes in line of sight in reduced gravity affect crew posture and reach, display orientation, and other visual cues, which should be considered in hardware and operations design.

Task Progress & Bibliography Information FY2017 
Task Progress: ED. NOTE: Dr. Millard Reschke is now the U.S. Co-Investigator on this European Space Agency (ESA)-sponsored project; ESA Principal Investigator is Gilles Clément, Ph.D., Lyon Neuroscience Research Center, France. Dr. Scott Wood is no longer a Co-Investigator due to his new position at NASA; See project "Straight Ahead in Microgravity" with Dr. Wood as the Principal Investigator (U.S. Co-Investigator) for previous reporting.

Flight Study

Eight International Space Station (ISS) crewmembers will be recruited to participate in three preflight sessions (between 120 and 60 days before launch) and then three postflight sessions on R+0/1 day, R+4 (± 2) days, and R+8 (± 2) days (Clément and Wood 2016). Preflight data was initiated in 2015 following approval for this study to be implemented for pre- and post-flight testing only. To date, three ISS crewmember have completed pre- and post-flight data collection. Preflight data collection has been obtained from three other crewmembers, although one of these subjects was withdrawn from the study due to changes in post-flight test plans.

Ground Control Studies

Test-retest repeatability. This past year, a ground control study was completed to obtain normative data on 16 healthy non-astronaut subjects participating in three sessions similar to the astronaut preflight data sessions. A preliminary analysis comparing the responses of these 16 subjects across three sessions separated by about one month indicates that there is no learning effect induced by the repetition of the tests (Campbell et al. 2017). In addition, the responses of the five crewmembers tested preflight so far are within the range of those measured with the 16 non-astronaut subjects.

Translational Vestibulo-Ocular Reflex (tVOR). The tVOR is an important otolith-mediated response to stabilize gaze during natural locomotion. In the initial phase of this study, we began to examine an existing data set obtained during Off-Vertical Axis Rotation. In this data set, we were able to establish that the modulation of horizontal slow phase velocity was larger at higher frequencies (>0.8 Hz) than lower frequencies (<0.05 Hz). Previously described kinematic effects of fixation distance were not present for these lower frequencies (Douglas et al. 2017). Therefore, for our SAM study protocol, we limited the tVOR trials to only high frequency trials that simulate the kinematic demands of natural locomotion.

References

Clément GR, Wood SJ. Translational otolith-ocular reflex during off-vertical axis rotation in humans. Neurosci Lett. 2016 Mar 11;616:65-9.

Campbell D, Wood SJ, Reschke MF, Clément G (2017) Evaluating the subjective straight ahead before and after spaceflight. In: NASA Human Research Program Investigators’ Workshop, Galveston, Texas

Douglas SB, Clément G, Denise P, Wood SJ (2017) Ocular reflex phase during off-vertical axis rotation in humans is modified by head-turn-on-trunk position. Scientific Reports 7, 42071.

Bibliography Type: Description: (Last Updated: 12/02/2021) 

Show Cumulative Bibliography Listing
 
Abstracts for Journals and Proceedings Campbell D, Reschke MF, Clément G. "Evaluating the subjective straight ahead before and after spaceflight." 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