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Gravity Threshold and Dose Response Relationships: Health Benefits Using a Short Arm Human Centrifuge

  • Kourtidou-Papadeli, Chrysoula1, 2, 3
  • Frantzidis, Christos A.1, 2
  • Gilou, Sotiria1
  • Plomariti, Christina E.1
  • Nday, Christiane M.1
  • Karnaras, Dimitrios3
  • Bakas, Lefteris4
  • Bamidis, Panagiotis D.1, 2
  • Vernikos, Joan2, 5
  • 1 Biomedical Engineering & Aerospace Neuroscience, Laboratory of Medical Physics, Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Medicine, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki , (Greece)
  • 2 Greek Aerospace Medical Association and Space Research, Thessaloniki , (Greece)
  • 3 Aeromedical Center of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki , (Greece)
  • 4 Laboratory of Aerospace and Rehabilitation Applications “Joan Vernikos” Arogi Rehabilitation Center, Thessaloniki , (Greece)
  • 5 Thirdage llc, Culpeper, VA , (United States)
Published Article
Frontiers in Physiology
Frontiers Media SA
Publication Date
May 11, 2021
DOI: 10.3389/fphys.2021.644661
  • Physiology
  • Original Research


Purpose Increasing the level of gravity passively on a centrifuge, should be equal to or even more beneficial not only to astronauts living in a microgravity environment but also to patients confined to bed. Gravity therapy (GT) may have beneficial effects on numerous conditions, such as immobility due to neuromuscular disorders, balance disorders, stroke, sports injuries. However, the appropriate configuration for administering the Gz load remains to be determined. Methods To address these issues, we studied graded G-loads from 0.5 to 2.0g in 24 young healthy, male and female participants, trained on a short arm human centrifuge (SAHC) combined with mild activity exercise within 40–59% MHR, provided by an onboard bicycle ergometer. Hemodynamic parameters, as cardiac output (CO), stroke volume (SV), mean arterial pressure (MAP), systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), and heart rate (HR) were analyzed, as well as blood gas analysis. A one-way repeated measures ANOVA and pairwise comparisons were conducted with a level of significance p < 0.05. Results Significant changes in heart rate variability (HRV) and its spectral components (Class, Fmax, and VHF) were found in all g loads when compared to standing (p < 0.001), except in 1.7 and 2.0g. There were significant changes in CO, cardiac index (CI), and cardiac power (CP) (p < 0.001), and in MAP (p = 0.003) at different artificial gravity (AG) levels. Dose-response curves were determined based on statistically significant changes in cardiovascular parameters, as well as in identifying the optimal G level for training, as well as the optimal G level for training. There were statistically significant gender differences in Cardiac Output/CO (p = 0.002) and Cardiac Power/CP (p = 0.016) during the AG training as compared to standing. More specifically, these cardiovascular parameters were significantly higher for male than female participants. Also, there was a statistically significant (p = 0.022) gender by experimental condition interaction, since the high-frequency parameter of the heart rate variability was attenuated during AG training as compared to standing but only for the female participants (p = 0.004). Conclusion The comprehensive cardiovascular evaluation of the response to a range of graded AG loads, as compared to standing, in male and female subjects provides the dose-response framework that enables us to explore and validate the usefulness of the centrifuge as a medical device. It further allows its use in precisely selecting personalized gravity therapy (GT) as needed for treatment or rehabilitation of individuals confined to bed.

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