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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Flexor bias of joint position in humans during spaceflight.

The ability to estimate ankle and elbow joint position was tested before, during, and after a 17-day spaceflight. Subjects estimated targeted joint angles during isovelocity (IsoV) joint movements with agonist muscle groups either active or relaxed. These movements included elbow extension (EE) and elbow flexion (EF), and plantarflexion (PF) and dorsiflexion (DF) of the ankle. Subjects also estimated these joint positions while moving the dynamometer at their chosen (variable) velocity (VarV) during EE and PF. For IsoV tests, no differences were observed between active and passive movements for either the ankle or elbow. Compared with those of pre-flight test days, estimates of targeted elbow joint angles were approximately 5 degrees to 15 degrees more flexed in-flight, and returned toward the pre-flight values during recovery. The spaceflight effects for the ankle were inconsistent and less prevalent than those for the elbow. The VarV PF test condition for the 120 degrees target angle at the ankle exhibited approximately 5 degrees to 7 degrees more DF target angle estimates in-flight compared with those pre- or post-flight. In contrast, during IsoV PF there was a tendency for ankle estimates to be approximately 2 degrees to 3 degrees more PF after 2-3 days exposure to spaceflight. These data indicate that during spaceflight the perception of elbow extension is greater than actuality, and are consistent with the interpretation that microgravity induced a flexor bias in the estimation of the actual elbow joint position. Moreover, these effects in joint proprioception during spaceflight were observed in individual isolated single-joint movements during tasks in which vestibular function in maintaining posture were minimal.[1]


  1. Flexor bias of joint position in humans during spaceflight. McCall, G.E., Goulet, C., Boorman, G.I., Roy, R.R., Edgerton, V.R. Experimental brain research. Experimentelle Hirnforschung. Expérimentation cérébrale. (2003) [Pubmed]
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