Autonomic Nervous System Experiments

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On Neurolab, crewmembers will carry out tests designed to investigate every aspect of autonomic circulatory control, with the overall goal of understanding how it has changed after space flight. 

Some reasons why we are testing the autonomic system: 

  • 30-60% of astronauts cannot complete a 10 minute stand test after flights lasting up to 16 days.
  • Operational concern because of re-entry stress and emergency egress.
  • Clinical relevance to patients autonomic disorders (multiple system atrophy, peripheral autonomic failure, idiopathic orthostatic hypotension).

The researchers behind the experiments on Neurolab have created a comprehensive set of measurements. The results should help solve the puzzle of why astronauts have problems with blood pressure control after space flight. 

On the pages that follow we will look at the experiments and discuss what it is researchers hope to learn from each. Eventually we hope to have the actual Neurolab test results available here as well.