Otolith Assessment During Postflight Re-adaptation (Otolith) - 09.17.14

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Science Objectives for Everyone
Otolith Assessment During Postflight Re-adaptation (Otolith) assesses otolith (small bones of the inner ear) function in crewmembers preflight and postflight.

Science Results for Everyone

Our eyes and ears like gravity. This investigation found that the reduced sensory input of weightlessness caused changes in the function of otoliths, the small inner-ear bones, in 90 percent of astronauts. These included both typical and atypical forms of spontaneous rapid eye movements, indicating changes in functioning of the body’s vestibular or balance system. Such changes represent a typical adaptation of sensory systems to an altered sensory environment and are specific to individuals in terms of the level, time, duration, and dynamics. This seems to suggest that the pattern of changes is determined by the combined effect of various sensory inputs and their relationship.

The following content was provided by Andrew H. Clarke, Ph.D., and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Information provided courtesy of the Erasmus Experiment Archive.

Experiment Details


Principal Investigator(s)

  • Andrew H. Clarke, Ph.D., Charite Medical School, Berlin, Germany

  • Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
  • Floris L. Wuyts, Ph.D., University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium
  • Scott J. Wood, Ph.D., Azusa Pacific University, Azusa, CA, United States

  • Developer(s)
    Kayser Threde, Munich, , Germany

    Sponsoring Space Agency
    European Space Agency (ESA)

    Sponsoring Organization
    Information Pending

    Research Benefits
    Information Pending

    ISS Expedition Duration
    April 2008 - September 2011

    Expeditions Assigned

    Previous ISS Missions
    Otolith first began on ISS Expedition 18.

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    Experiment Description

    Research Overview

    • Otolith Assessment During Postflight Re-adaptation (Otolith) will assess otolith (small bones of the inner ear) function before and after space flight to this evaluate otolith-ocular response (OOR) and the subjective visual vertical (SVV) to assess unilateral utricle function. Vestibular evoked myogenic potentials (VEMP) will be recorded in order to assess unilateral saccule function.

    • Together this represents a comprehensive examination of all aspects of the otolith system, providing critical information on the validity of the otolith asymmetry hypothesis and on the post flight adaptation of the individual otolith functions.

    Information Pending

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    Space Applications
    Information Pending

    Earth Applications
    Information Pending

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    Operational Requirements
    Information Pending

    Operational Protocols
    Information Pending

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    Results/More Information
    Information Pending

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    Results Publications

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    Ground Based Results Publications

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    ISS Patents

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    Related Publications

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    Related Websites
    The information on this page is provided courtesy of the ESA Erasmus Experiment Archive.

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