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Pharmacological and non-pharmacological countermeasures to Space Motion Sickness: a systematic review

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posted on 2023-07-03, 10:05 authored by Akil Khalid, Pragnya P. Prusty, Iqra Arshad, Hannah E. Gustafson, Isra Jalaly, Keith Nockels, Barry BentleyBarry Bentley, Rahul Goel, Elisa R. Ferrè


Introduction: Space Motion Sickness (SMS) is a syndrome that affects around 70% of astronauts and includes symptoms of nausea, dizziness, fatigue, vertigo, headaches, vomiting, and cold sweating. Consequences range from discomfort to severe sensorimotor and cognitive incapacitation, which might cause potential problems for mission-critical tasks and astronauts and cosmonauts' well-being. Both pharmacological and non-pharmacological countermeasures have been proposed to mitigate SMS. However, their effectiveness has not been systematically evaluated. Here we present the first systematic review of published peer-reviewed research on the effectiveness of pharmacological and non-pharmacological countermeasures to SMS.

Methods: We performed a double-blind title and abstract screening using the online Rayyan collaboration tool for systematic reviews, followed by a full-text screening. Eventually, only 23 peer-reviewed studies underwent data extraction.

Results: Both pharmacological and non-pharmacological countermeasures can help mitigate SMS symptoms.

Discussion: No definitive recommendation can be given regarding the superiority of any particular countermeasure approach. Importantly, there is considerable heterogeneity in the published research methods, lack of a standardized assessment approach, and small sample sizes. To allow for consistent comparisons between SMS countermeasures in the future, standardized testing protocols for spaceflight and ground-based analogs are needed. We believe that the data should be made openly available, given the uniqueness of the environment in which it is collected.


Published in

Frontiers in Neural Circuits


Frontiers Media


  • VoR (Version of Record)


Khalid A, Prusty PP, Arshad I, Gustafson HE, Jalaly I, Nockels K, Bentley BL, Goel R and Ferrè ER (2023) 'Pharmacological and non-pharmacological countermeasures to Space Motion Sickness: a systematic review', Frontiers in Neural Circuits 17:1150233. doi: 10.3389/fncir.2023.1150233

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  • Cardiff School of Technologies

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Barry Bentley

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