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J Gravit Physiol. 2002 Jul;9(1):P33-4.

Cerebral lateralization for motor tasks in simulated microgravity a transcranial Doppler technique for astronauts.

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Non-invsive Neurocybernetic Flow Laboratory, International Institutes of Advanced Research and Training, Chidicon Medical Center. Owerri, Imo State, Nigeria.


In Space, central cognitive operations are unaffected but humans are slower in perceptual-motor performance. Transcranial Doppler ultrasonography was used to monitor blood flow velocity in both middle cerebral arteries during unilateral and bilateral fingers' movements before, during and after -6 degrees 24 hours of head-down tilt (HDT) in 14 (8 males and 6 females) subjects. Physiologic hemisphere dominance was assessed by breath-holding test. There was a significant main effect of motor task, F(4, 328) = 16.05, p<0.00000001, MSe = 48.2. There was a gender vs head-position interaction F(3,246) = 4.90 p<0.002) MSe = 120. At pre-HDT females were right lateralized and males were left lateralized. A left shift in lateralization pattern was seen during 24hrs-HDT for both genders. There was a significant main effect of breath-holding test and a breath-holding test vs head position vs motor task interaction. HDT alters cerebral lateralization for motor control and this may be responsible for slowing in perceptual-motor performance in Space. TCD monitoring may be required for motor performance tasks in Space.


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