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Long-duration head down bed rest as an analog of microgravity: Effects on the static perception of upright

  • BACKGROUND: Humans demonstrate many physiological changes in microgravity for which long-duration head down bed rest (HDBR) is a reliable analog. However, information on how HDBR affects sensory processing is lacking. OBJECTIVE: We previously showed [25] that microgravity alters the weighting applied to visual cues in determining the perceptual upright (PU), an effect that lasts long after return. Does long-duration HDBR have comparable effects? METHODS: We assessed static spatial orientation using the luminous line test (subjective visual vertical, SVV) and the oriented character recognition test (PU) before, during and after 21 days of 6° HDBR in 10 participants. Methods were essentially identical as previously used in orbit [25]. RESULTS: Overall, HDBR had no effect on the reliance on visual relative to body cues in determining the PU. However, when considering the three critical time points (pre-bed rest, end of bed rest, and 14 days post-bed rest) there was a significant decrease in reliance on visual relative to body cues, as found in microgravity. The ratio had an average time constant of 7.28 days and returned to pre-bed-rest levels within 14 days. The SVV was unaffected. CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that bed rest can be a useful analog for the study of the perception of static self-orientation during long-term exposure to microgravity. More detailed work on the precise time course of our effects is needed in both bed rest and microgravity conditions.

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Document Type:Article
Author:Laurence R. Harris, Michael Jenkin, Rainer Herpers
Parent Title (English):Journal of Vestibular Research
First Page:325
Last Page:340
Publisher:IOS Press
Publishing Institution:Hochschule Bonn-Rhein-Sieg
Date of first publication:2021/10/26
Copyright:(c) 2022 – The authors. Published by IOS Press. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0).
Funding:We gratefully acknowledge funding from the Canadian Space Agency for this project. LRH and MJ were supported by Discovery Grants from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada.
Keyword:HDBR; Human orientation perception; Perceptual Upright; head down bed rest; space flight analog; subjective visual vertical
Departments, institutes and facilities:Fachbereich Informatik
Institute of Visual Computing (IVC)
Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC):0 Informatik, Informationswissenschaft, allgemeine Werke / 00 Informatik, Wissen, Systeme / 006 Spezielle Computerverfahren
Entry in this database:2021/11/11
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY - Namensnennung 4.0 International