Paper in Aviation Space and Environmental Medicine
  • Dilda, V., MacDougall, H.G., Moore, S.T. (2011). Tolerance to extended galvanic vestibular stimulation: Optimal exposure for astronaut training. Aviation Space and Environmental Medicine, 82(8), 770-774.

    ABSTRACT
    Background: We have developed an analogue of postflight sensorimotor dysfunction in astronauts using pseudorandom galvanic vestibular stimulation (GVS). To date there has been no study of the effects of extended GVS on human subjects and our aim was to determine optimal exposure for astronaut training based on tolerance to intermittent and continuous galvanic stimulation.

    Methods: There were 60 subjects who were exposed to a total of 10.5 min of intermittent GVS at a peak current of 3.5 mA or 5 mA. A subset of 24 subjects who tolerated the intermittent stimulus were subsequently exposed to 20-min continuous stimulation at 3.5 mA or 5 mA.

    Results: During intermittent GVS the large majority of subjects (78.3%) reported no or at most mild motion sickness symptoms, 13.3% reported moderate symptoms, and 8.3% experienced severe nausea and requested termination of the stimulus. During 20-min continuous exposure, 83.3% of subjects reported no or at most mild motion sickness symptoms and 16.7% (all in the 5-mA group) experienced severe nausea.

    Conclusion: Based on these results, we propose two basic modes of GVS application to minimize the incidence of motion sickness: intermittent high (5 mA) amplitude, suited to simulation of intensive operator tasks requiring a high-fidelity analogue of postflight sensorimotor dysfunction such as landing or docking maneuvers; and continuous low (3.5 mA) amplitude stimulation, for longer simulation scenarios such as extra vehicular activity. Our results suggest that neither mode of stimulation would induce motion sickness in the large majority of subjects for up to 20 min exposure.