On 7th of April 2021, AUTH Medical Physics Laboratory PostDoc Researcher Dr. Christos A. Frantzidis presented the recent advances of the utility of the short-arm human centrifuge as an efficient intervention for inducing motor neuroplasticity within the context of the 23rd Humans in Space Symposium, organized by the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) in Moscow. The presentation focused on a) the medical validation of the Centrifuge and Rehabilitation Living Lab infrastructure (part of the Thess-AHALL) as an efficient tool for motor rehabilitation and b) on the neuroplastic changes due to the intervention training on both a healthy population cohort and a use case of a patient suffering from Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (SPMS).
Specifically, Biomedical Engineering & Aerospace Neuroscience (BEAN) group, powered by the AUTH Medical Physics Lab enrolled 24 young, healthy volunteers, who were monitored in terms of their cardiovascular and electroencephalographic (EEG) signals during resting-state and artificial gravity (AG) training. The centrifuge validation verified that AG training when combined with aerobic training serves as an exercise training of medium heart-rate intensity while it induces widespread cortical alterations on cortical regions involved in neuroplasticity alterations. These results were further validated through a clinical use case scenario involving a patient suffering from SPMS. Neuroplastic changes were also correlated with improvement in muscle, strength and balance capability.
At the end of his presentation, Dr. Frantzidis made a short description of how the AG training will be deployed in the framework of two new H2020 projects of AUTH Medical Physics Lab, URBANOME and VITALISE projects, both of which exploit the Living Lab methodology and will use the Centrifuge and Rehabilitation LL infrastructure for piloting and assessing their research objectives. The two projects gained the attention of both panelists and attendants at HSS, who agreed that this is an excellent example of how space sector technology could be applied in clinical routine. It is noted that the parent-idea of the Centrifuge and Rehabilitation Living Lab infrastructure has been based in previous research and outcomes of other projects in AUTH MedPhys Lab, including the sleep studies of SmokeFreeBrain H2020.