To what extent does going to space affect cardiovascular function? Although many studies have addressed this question, the answer remains controversial. Even for such primary parameters as heart rate (HR) and blood pressure (BP) contradictory results have been presented. The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate HR and arterial BP in 11 male astronauts who each took part in nine different space missions aboard the International Space Station (ISS), for up to 6 months. Pre-flight HR and BP readings were obtained in both the standing and supine positions on Earth and were taken as reference values. Our results show that HR and arterial BP in space equal pre-flight supine values. In all subjects, HR and mean arterial BP (MAP) were lower in space compared with pre-flight standing (both 0.05). HR in space was well maintained at pre-flight supine level for up to 6 months in all astronauts while MAP tended to adapt to a level in between the ground-based standing and supine positions. Also pulse pressure (PP) decreased over the course of long duration spaceflight. In conclusion, our data indicate that weightlessness relaxes the circulation in humans for an extended duration of up to 6 months in space.
Research Containing: Counter measures
Exercise prescriptions completed by International Space Station (ISS) crewmembers are typically based upon evidence obtained during ground-based investigations, with the assumption that the results of long-term training in weightlessness will be similar to that attained in normal gravity. Coupled with this supposition are the assumptions that exercise motions and external loading are also similar between gravitational environments. Normal control of locomotion is dependent upon learning patterns of muscular activation and requires continual monitoring of internal and external sensory input . Internal sensory input includes signals that may be dependent on or independent of gravity. Bernstein hypothesized that movement strategy planning and execution must include the consideration of segmental weights and inertia . Studies of arm movements in microgravity showed that individuals tend to make errors but that compensation strategies result in adaptations, suggesting that control mechanisms must include peripheral information [3-5]. To date, however, there have been no studies examining a gross-motor activity such as running in weightlessness other than using microgravity analogs [6-8]. The objective of this evaluation was to collect biomechanical data from crewmembers during treadmill exercise before and during flight. The goal was to determine locomotive biomechanics similarities and differences between normal and weightless environments. The data will be used to optimize future exercise prescriptions. This project addresses the Critical Path Roadmap risks 1 (Accelerated Bone Loss and Fracture Risk) and 11 (Reduced Muscle Mass, Strength, and Endurance).