AG provided by a SAHC causes ADS and CVA

Publication: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution - Published abstract for conference with selection processResearchpeer-review


Artificial gravity (AG) exposure is suggested to counteract health deconditioning, theoretically complementing exercise during space habitations. Exercise benefits on mental health are well documented (i.e. well-being, enhanced executive functions). Although AG is coherent for the integrity of fundamental physiological systems, the effects of its exposure on neurophysiological processes related to cognitive performance are poorly understood and therefore characterize the primary aim of this study.

16 healthy males participated in two randomly assigned sessions, AG and exercise (30 minute each). Participants were exposed to AG at continuous +2Gz in a short-arm human centrifuge (SAHC) and performed moderate exercise (cycling ergometer). Using 64 active electrodes, resting EEG was recorded before (pre), immediately after (post), and 15 min after (post15) each session. Alpha (7.5–12.5 Hz) and beta frequencies (12.5–35.0 Hz) were exported for analysis. Cognitive performance and mood states were assessed before and after each session. Blood samples were taken before and after centrifugation.

Cognitive performance improved after exercise, but not after AG. This was reflected by typical EEG patterns after exercise, however not after AG. Frontal alpha and beta activity increased after AG compared to a decrease in frontal alpha and beta activity after exercise. Relaxed cortical states were indicated after exercise, but were less apparent after AG. Participants’ motivation decreased after artificial gravity, while perceived physical state was increased. Similar biobehavioral markers, albeit chronic, are characterizing the attention deficit syndrome (ADS). Aggregation of red blood cells significantly increased after AG, indicating an increased blood viscosity and therefore decreased microcirculation being a possible risk for cerebrovascular accidents (CVA).

Summarized, the benefits to mental health, recorded after exercise, were absent after AG, indicating that AG might cause neurocognitive deconditioning. Whether this is due to a decreased central perfusion or an increased/decreased arousal needs further investigation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2014 ESA/ISGP/CSA Joint Life Sciences Meeting
Publication date2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014
EventESA/ISGP/CSA Joint Life Sciences Meeting - Life in Space for Life on Earth - Waterloo, Canada
Duration: 16.06.201420.06.2014
Conference number: 13