Update on the status of rehabilitative countermeasures to ameliorate the effects of long-duration exposure to microgravity on vestibular and sensorimotor function

J Vestib Res. 2003;13(4-6):405-9.


This paper is an overview of current research on development of rehabilitative countermeasures to ameliorate the effects of long-term exposure to microgravity on sensorimotor function during space flight. After many years of work we do not yet have operational countermeasures, probably for several reasons: 1) changes in the use of vestibular input are manifested in many ways, 2) due to multiple mechanisms for funding research, investigators doing related research may not coordinate their work, and 3) relatively few scientists work on this problem. The number of investigators and physicians who routinely deal with the functional problems of astronauts and the limitations of working in the space environment is tiny; the number of investigators who are therapists, and who therefore have experience and expertise in developing rehabilitation programs, is miniscule. That's the bad news. The good news is that as a group, we are little but mighty. Therefore, the entire group of investigators can plan to take a more coordinated, collaborative approach than investigators in larger fields. Also, serendipitously, individual research groups have begun approaching different rehabilitative aspects of this problem. If we make a greater effort toward a coordinated, multidimensional approach, guided by rehabilitation concepts, we will be able to provide operational sensorimotor countermeasures when they are needed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aerospace Medicine / methods*
  • Humans
  • Movement Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Sensation Disorders / rehabilitation*
  • Time Factors
  • Vestibular Diseases / rehabilitation*
  • Weightlessness / adverse effects*