Technology

Russian scientists have developed a device that allows to defeat space disease

Scientists from the Institute for Biomedical ProblemsThe Russian Academy of Sciences has developed an apparatus for the diagnosis of space motion sickness (CBD), which nearly a third of people flew into space. Its symptoms appear almost immediately, as soon as a person gets into conditions of weightlessness. Constant nausea and vomiting, dizziness, weakness, as well as the emergence of various kinds of hallucinations (for example, a person feels constantly rotating) - all this is the result of a sensory conflict caused by the vestibular apparatus. Symptoms continue for several days until the brain adapts to the new conditions of gravity.

When returning from Earth’s orbit, humans canthe symptoms of CBD will reappear and will continue until the body re-adapts to the usual gravity. We told about one of the examples not so long ago.

Man's predisposition to CBD is a problem onin fact, it is not so terrible for the same crews of the ISS, since the long-term stay on the orbital station considerably exceeds the period of the organism’s adaptation to the changed conditions. However, CBD can be a very serious problem, if we are talking about promising flights and landings of a man on the Moon or Mars. For example, according to the observations of astronauts who flew to the moon, some of them had a CBD in the case of disembarking on a satellite. At the same time, the symptoms of the disease can be so debilitating that they literally take the person off balance and do not allow him to rise to his feet without help.

To suppress the symptoms of CBD at the momentspecial medicines are used. However, they are not a panacea. These drugs, as a rule, themselves have many side effects that reduce human performance in space.

The IMBP RAS considers that the introduction of specialsimulators that can train the vestibular apparatus, will allow to effectively reduce the intensity and duration of the symptoms of CBD. For this purpose, the apparatus was developed "Vega". It provokes short-term onset of symptoms of CBD in terrestrial conditions, simulating the effect of weightlessness on the vestibular apparatus of a person. To do this, he rotates the subject around the longitudinal axis of the body in a horizontal position at a speed of 24 revolutions per minute. As a result, microgravity redistribution of fluids inside the middle ear is provided, which is typical for real space flight conditions.

When in a special capsule feelingrotation disappears after 30-60 seconds from the beginning of the test. Then the vestibular apparatus begins to adapt relative to the gravity vector, which causes symptoms of CBD. Upon completion of testing, their severity is assessed on a 16-point scale, after which it can be concluded that the subject is susceptible to CBD.

The device "Vega" can be used not only fordiagnostics and treatment of vestibular disorders in future astronauts. It can also be used to train the vestibular apparatus in people suffering from, for example, motion sickness in transport. However, scientists note that in this case Vega will be effective only for treating those conditions that are caused by the misalignment of signals from organs inside the middle ear (the so-called semicircular canals and otolith receptors). And this, in turn, is only from sources of sensory conflicts leading to the feeling of motion sickness. Another cause of the symptoms of motion sickness is the conflict of signals from the vestibular apparatus and vision. But using an integrated approach to treatment, it is possible to overcome this condition, experts add.

To date, the apparatus "Vega" successfully passed tests with a group of 14 volunteers, 8 of whom are astronauts - they had a CBD during the flight.

Developers note that with sufficientfinancing the launch of small-scale production apparatus for diagnosing and treating problems with the vestibular apparatus, as well as its introduction into medical practice can be organized within a year.

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