Physiological principles of vestibular function on earth and in space.

L. B. Minor

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Physiological mechanisms underlying vestibular function have important implications for our ability to understand, predict, and modify balance processes during and after spaceflight. The microgravity environment of space provides many unique opportunities for studying the effects of changes in gravitoinertial force on structure and function of the vestibular system. Investigations of basic vestibular physiology and of changes in reflexes occurring as a consequence of exposure to microgravity have important implications for diagnosis and treatment of vestibular disorders in human beings. This report reviews physiological principles underlying control of vestibular processes on earth and in space. Information is presented from a functional perspective with emphasis on signals arising from labyrinthine receptors. Changes induced by microgravity in linear acceleration detected by the vestibulo-ocular reflexes. Alterations of the functional requirements for postural control in space are described. Areas of direct correlation between studies of vestibular reflexes in microgravity and vestibular disorders in human beings are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S5-15
JournalOtolaryngology--head and neck surgery : official journal of American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery
Issue number3 Pt 2
StatePublished - Mar 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Otorhinolaryngology


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