Regulation of autonomic nervous system in space and magnetic storms

Adv Space Res. 1998;22(2):227-34. doi: 10.1016/s0273-1177(98)80014-8.


Variations in the earth's magnetic field and magnetic storms are known to be a risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disorders. The main "targets" for geomagnetic perturbations are the central nervous system and the neural regulation of vascular tone and heart rate variability. This paper presents the data about effect of geomagnetic fluctuations on human body in space. As a method for research the analysis of heart rate variability was used, which allows evaluating the state of the sympathetic and parasympathetic parts of the autonomic nervous system, vasomotor center and subcortical neural centers activity. Heart rate variability data were analyzed for 30 cosmonauts at the 2nd day of space flight on transport spaceship Soyuz (32nd orbit). There were formed three groups of cosmonauts: without magnetic storm (n=9), on a day with magnetic storm (n=12) and 1-2 days after magnetic storm (n=9). The present study was the first to demonstrate a specific impact of geomagnetic perturbations on the system of autonomic circulatory control in cosmonauts during space flight. The increasing of highest nervous centers activity was shown for group with magnetic storms, which was more significant on 1-2 days after magnetic storm. The use of discriminate analysis allowed to classify indicated three groups with 88% precision. Canonical variables are suggested to be used as criterions for evaluation of specific and non-specific components of cardiovascular reactions to geomagnetic perturbations. The applied aspect of the findings from the present study should be emphasized. They show, in particular, the need to supplement the medical monitoring of cosmonauts with predictions of probable geomagnetic perturbations in view of the prevention of unfavorable states appearances if the adverse reactions to geomagnetic perturbations are added to the tension experienced by regulatory systems during various stresses situations (such as work in the open space).

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aerospace Medicine
  • Astronauts
  • Autonomic Nervous System / physiology*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology*
  • Data Interpretation, Statistical
  • Databases, Factual
  • Discriminant Analysis
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetics / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Space Flight*
  • Spectrum Analysis
  • Weightlessness*