Horizontal angular VOR, nystagmus dumping, and sensation duration in spacelab SLS-1 crewmembers

TitleHorizontal angular VOR, nystagmus dumping, and sensation duration in spacelab SLS-1 crewmembers
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1993
AuthorsOman, C. M., and M. D. Balkwill
JournalJ Vestib Res
Date PublishedFall
MVL Report Number93.25
Keywords*Space Flight, Adult, Dark Adaptation, Electrooculography, Eye Movements, Female, Gravitation, Human, Male, Middle Age, Nystagmus, Optokinetic/*physiology, Orientation, Reflex, Vestibulo-Ocular/*physiology, Sensation/*physiology, Space Perception/physiology, Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S., Vestibule/physiology

In 1G, the apparent time constant (Td) of postrotatory SPV decay with the head tilted face down is 55% of that with head erect (Te). This phenomenon is called "nystagmus dumping" and has been attributed to G effects on VOR velocity storage. Similarly, postrotatory sensation duration with head tilted (Dd) is 32% of that when head erect (De). In parabolic flight, Te and De are 70% of 1-G values, but a pitch back dumping movement produces no further change. Te, Td, and Dd have not previously been measured in orbital flight. VOR and sensation duration was tested in 4 crewmembers in 4 preflight, 1 inflight (days 4 or 5) and 4 post flight sessions. Bitemporal EOG was recorded with eyes open in darkness. Instructions were to "gaze straight ahead," and indicate when "rotation sensation disappears or becomes ambiguous". Subjects were rotated CW and CCW head erect for 1 min at 120 degrees/s, stopped, and EOG was recorded for another 1 min. This procedure was then used to study dumping, except that immediately after chair stop, subjects pitched their head forward 90 degrees. SPV was calculated using order statistic filtering, and dropouts removed using an iterative model fitting method. Te and Td were determined by logarithmic linear regression of mean SPV for each subject. In orbit, 90 degrees pitch movement produced rapid subjective dumping, but not nystagmus dumping. Dd was noticeably shorter ("almost instantaneous") compared to preflight Dd. Te and Td in orbit were similar to preflight Te for 3/4 subjects (rather than to preflight Td as expected). No consistent VOR gain changes were seen in orbit. Although Te is known to decrease acutely in parabolic flight, a longer time constant was measured in 3/4 subjects after 4-5 days adaptation to weightlessness, suggesting a return of angular velocity storage.