Biomedical research on the International Space Station postural and manipulation problems of the human upper limb in weightlessness

Neri, Gianluca; Zolesi, Valfredo
January 2000
AIP Conference Proceedings;2000, Vol. 504 Issue 1, p166
Academic Journal
Accumulated evidence, based on information gathered on space flight missions and ground based models involving both humans and animals, clearly suggests that exposure to states of microgravity conditions for varying duration induces certain physiological changes; they involve cardiovascular deconditioning, balance disorders, bone weakening, muscle hypertrophy, disturbed sleep patterns and depressed immune responses. The effects of the microgravity on the astronauts’ movement and attitude have been studied during different space missions, increasing the knowledge of the human physiology in weightlessness. The purpose of the research addressed in the present paper is to understand and to assess the performances of the upper limb, especially during grasp. Objects of the research are the physiological changes related to the long-term duration spaceflight environment. Specifically, the changes concerning the upper limb are investigated, with particular regard to the performances of the hand in zero-g environments. This research presents also effects on the Earth, improving the studies on a number of pathological states, on the health care and the rehabilitation. In this perspective, a set of experiments are proposed, aimed at the evaluation of the effects of the zero-g environments on neurophysiology of grasping movements, fatigue assessment, precision grip. © 2000 American Institute of Physics.


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