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Space motion sickness: A common neurovestibular dysfunction in microgravity

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Thais Russomano, Michele S G da Rosa, Marlise A. dos Santos

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S214-S218
Number of pages5
JournalNeurology India
Volume67
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2019

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Abstract

This article presents a review of the current findings related to neurovestibular physiology, aetiology, and proposed theories on space motion sickness (SMS) during acute and sustained exposure to microgravity. The review discusses the available treatment options including medication and nonpharmacological countermeasure methods that help to prevent the development of SMS in weightlessness. Ground-based simulations using virtual reality, flight simulations, and Barany's chairs can be applied to study SMS and demonstrate its signs and symptoms to space crew members. Space motion sickness has been observed in approximately 70% of astronauts within the first 72 h in microgravity, having in general an instantaneous onset of signs and symptoms. Stomach discomfort, nausea, vomiting, pallor, cold sweating, salivation, tachypnoea, belching, fatigue, drowsiness, and stress hormone release have been documented. This can have detrimental effects on the well-being of astronauts in the initial phase of a space mission. Mental and physical performance may be affected, jeopardizing operational procedures and mission safety.

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