The four science crewmembers of Spacelab-1 were tested for postural control before and after a 10 day mission in weightlessness. Previous reports have shown changes in astronaut postural behavior following a return to earth's 1-g field. This study was designed to identify changes in EMG latency and amplitudes that might explain the instabilities observed post-flight. Erect posture was tested by having the subject stand on a pneumatically driven posture platform which pitched rapidly and unexpectedly about the ankles causing dorsi- and plantarflexion. Electromyographic (EMG) activity from the tibialis anterior and the gastrocnemiussoleus muscles was measured during eyes open and eyes closed trials. The early (pre 500 ms) EMG response characteristics (latency, amplitude) in response to a disturbance in the posture of the subject were apparently unchanged by the 10 days of weightlessness. However, the late (post 500 ms) response showed higher amplitudes than was found pre-flight. General postural control was quantitatively measured pre- and post-flight by a “sharpened Romberg Rails test”. This test showed decrements in standing stability with eyes closed for several days post-flight.
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Kenyon, R.V., Young, L.R. M.I.T./Canadian vestibular experiments on the Spacelab-1 mission: 5. Postural responses following exposure to weightlessness. Exp Brain Res 64, 335–346 (1986). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00237750