Vestibulo-ocular response of human subjects seated in a pivoting support system during 3 Gz centrifuge stimulation

TitleVestibulo-ocular response of human subjects seated in a pivoting support system during 3 Gz centrifuge stimulation
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1995
AuthorsMcGrath, B. J., F. E. Guedry, C. M. Oman, and A. H. Rupert
JournalJ Vestib Res
Date PublishedSep-Oct
MVL Report Number95.11
Keywords*Hypergravity, *Reflex, Vestibulo-Ocular, *Space Perception, Adult, Centrifugation, Human, Male, Nystagmus, Pathologic, Posture, Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S., Syncope, Unconsciousness

The vestibulo-ocular reflex (VOR) and spatial orientation perceptions were recorded in 15 subjects during 3 Gz centrifuge runs. These data were obtained to study two issues: (1) to gain insight into reports of asymmetrical disorientation and disturbance during acceleration and deceleration of centrifuge runs like those used to train pilots on the procedures to counteract G-induced loss of consciousness (G-LOC); (2) to study the effects of sustained vertical linear acceleration on the vestibular system. The centrifuge angular velocity profile consisted of a 19 s angular acceleration to 3 Gz that was sustained for 5 min during a period of constant angular velocity, and a 19 s deceleration to 1 Gz. The runs were repeated three times with the subject facing the motion and three times with the subject's back to the motion. The VOR and spatial orientation perceptions from the eight subjects who completed all six runs were analyzed. The total VOR response during acceleration and deceleration was composed of interacting angular (AVOR) and linear components (LVOR). Asymmetries in pitch orientation perception between centrifuge acceleration and decleration were not matched by asymmetries in the total VOR slow phase velocity. During the constant velocity high-G phase of the run, sustained up-beating LVOR (Lz nystagmus) was present in 14 of the 15 subjects. Significant individual differences in Lz nystagmus were found, but the maximum Lz response in our 15 subjects was probably of insufficient magnitude to degrade visual scan of cockpit instruments. Mean magnitudes ranged from 0 to 10 deg/s at 90 s from onset of centrifuge run.