PRIMARY BENEFITS OF CENTRIFUGE

Primary benefits of centrifuge use consist of cardiovascular health, rehabilitation and fitness:  References at end.

Microgravity (10¯⁵ gravity) experienced by astronauts in space, and the reduced effect of gravity on Earth by being bedridden and inactive, sedentary or aging, have demonstrated similar negative effects on the human body¹. This is especially true for aging persons. Those who are bedridden or sit much of the day, though surrounded by gravity (1Gz) in fact use gravity less because they move less. In particular, they change posture less often, sit almost all day, and do not stand up as often throughout the day. This leads to difficulties in normal mobility starting with problems using the toilet unassisted and in maintaining independence in general. The physiological changes include every system and every cell in the body. With respect to the cardiovascular system, reduced gravity or its use, is characterized by diminished cardiac function and mass²׳³.

 

This is the result of transient diuresis and natriuresis, a 2-4% reduced body mass, and a 6-15% lower plasma volume (PV)⁴. It is followed by decreased heart size, cardiac stiffening, reduced filling, stroke volume (the amount of blood pumped around the body), cardiac output and aerobic capacity. Aerobic capacity, the amount of oxygen taken in to supply the brain and other organs can decrease by 25% within 4 days of bed rest⁵. The sensitivity of the cardiac-carotid baroreflex in the neck that regulates blood pressure loses its sensitivity within 10-12 days of lying down continuously resulting in orthostatic hypotension (OH), (the tendency to faint on standing up) ⁶. It is not only the heart muscle that is reduced in bed rest and aging, but a weakening in the endothelium lining of blood vessels reduces their ability to constrict in response to the smaller volume as they try to keep the blood flowing⁷. Reduced circulation increases the risk of forming clots and stroke.


Providing passive stimulation to the cardiovascular system that mimics standing up often provides the needed answer. Exposure to 1Gz is equivalent to standing up while lying down. The elderly, those in rehabilitation, as well as those who because of disability, who do not or cannot stand up or stand up often by themselves, are the most likely to benefit from 1Gz centrifugation with all its associated body responses. It can restore to normal all aspects of this cardiovascular response to aging, sedentary lifestyle and disability. These include but are not limited to stronger heart muscle, increased heart rate, PV and stroke volume (more blood volume ejected with each contraction), the ability to pump blood up to the brain to maintain adequate oxygen and fuel for mental function, as well as movement of muscles with all the associated metabolic functions that rely on contracting muscles and independence in general.  


To date, centrifuges have been used for testing the tolerance of the human body to G forces in fighter pilots and in astronauts during re-entry and recovery from space missions. Reduced tolerance means an inability to regulate blood pressure resulting in fainting.

Centrifuges have also been used for over 50 years in research on the chronic exposure of experimental animals to levels greater than +1GZ and up to 4.5 Gz.  Occasionally they have been used in human volunteers at levels of 1-4Gz for research purposes to determine both the benefits and adverse effects of such levels. Higher than 3Gz tolerance (characterized by black-out or fainting) is used in research and fighter pilot selection and training in the military. 

There are only 13 short radius centrifuges in the world. Their design and support costs can run into the millions of dollars.   This has discouraged the transfer of this beneficial technology to the aged and for use during rehabilitation and health maintenance. In none of these studies have adverse effects been described in healthy humans though some nausea may be experienced at first at levels greater than 1Gz with faster rotation.


At the lower +Gz levels, (1-2Gz where 1Gz is used to mimic standing up on Earth) as proposed here, we have developed a simple, safe, low cost, personal centrifuge system for use by individuals in rehabilitation in elderly, disabled or inactive individuals to restore and maintain health and fitness.


Such a controlled low level of hypergravity usually at 1GZ, can benefit persons of all ages, maintain or restore their mobility and help lower their routine health care costs.  Should higher G levels be desired, our centrifuge may easily be adapted to reach levels of or near +2Gz.
Centrifugation by virtue of rotation in the horizontal axis with head in the center and feet out, provides at least three major sources of stimulation to the body:

  1. Whole Body Weight Training where increased body load by gravity pulling the body weight in the head to toe direction, much like standing up does, stimulates muscle and bone.

  2. By pulling blood to the feet, heart pumping is stimulated (increasing stroke volume and cardiac output), to compensate the redistribution of blood. General circulation is increased as blood is shifted from the feet back up to the head and brain.

  3. Rotation stimulates the inner ear (vestibular nervous system) that controls balance and coordination. It is also now known that it stimulates blood pressure, muscle and bone, fat and glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity. The level of Gravity sensed at the feet for instance depends on revolutions per minute and the diameter of the centrifuge.
    In addition, 

  4. the Mechanical Action of loading and rotation stimulate through a push/pull action every cell directly, primarily skin, fluids, muscle, ligaments, tendons and bone. The process is known as mechano-transduction where mechanical forces are translated into biochemical reactions. For example, the stimulation of collagen synthesis can be triggered by pulling on skin cells and ligaments.Our innovative ‘personal’ centrifuge system, with proven benefits from the space program, is fully developed, safe, market-ready and can be manufactured at a cost comparable to medical rehabilitation treadmills.This new invention, appealing in its simplicity, is a pioneering system primarily for the rehabilitation and aging market on Earth. It will be the first centrifuge product to market to the general public for its gravity-enhancing health and fitness benefits.


BENEFITS 
The primary benefits demonstrated in humans that would be expected by using our centrifuge on a regular basis, consist of cardiovascular health, rehabilitation and fitness. 

  • Centrifugation improves the performance of the heart⁸׳ ⁹. 

  • Restores to normal plasma volume, heart rate, stroke volume. 

  • It restores the sensitivity of baroreflexes thereby preventing possible falls from sudden drops in BP.⁸

  • Centrifugation is most effective when applied intermittently eg. 30 minutes 2Gz/2x a day or 30 min divided into 6 x5minibouts at 1Gz/1x per day ¹⁰.

  • Centrifugation increases energy and mobility by restoring higher aerobic capacity (VO2max) ¹¹׳¹².

  • Centrifugation prevents falls in older persons by improving balance and gait sensors in the vestibular system¹¹׳¹⁴. 

  • Centrifugation adds to the benefits of exercise restoring aerobic capacity (VO2max) further ¹²׳¹⁴.

 

A large meta-analysis of all human centrifugation (aka artificial gravity) studies, concluded that to date solid documentation supports cardiovascular effects as the major benefits of centrifugation¹⁴.  Similar studies for muscle, bone or metabolism are encouraging. However, they have not been done for sufficient durations in humans¹⁴ to confirm metabolic bone and other benefits.


ADDITIONAL POTENTIAL BENEFITS 
Extensive animal research and some human research have indicated, but not confirmed in humans, that continuous rather than intermittent centrifugation/Artificial Gravity  

  • Improves muscle strength, mass and power and increases collagen synthesis through its whole body-weight training effect¹⁵.

  • Increases body mass, composition and food intake¹⁶, increases glucose uptake and metabolism by muscle¹⁷, reduces insulin resistance preventing a pre-diabetic state¹⁷ and increases fat metabolism accelerating weight loss¹⁸׳¹⁶. 

  • Improves cerebral oxygenation and circulation that may aid in brain injury conditions, impaired cognition or dementia¹⁹.

  • Increases testosterone production in rhesus monkeys but has not yet been shown in humans²⁰.

Dr. Joan Vernikos, PhD
Dr. Joan Vernikos, PhD

References:

¹Vernikos J, Schneider VS. (2010) Space Gravity and the Physiology of Aging: Parallel or Convergent Disciplines? A Mini Review, Gerontology56(2)121-240.
²Mulvaugh SL, Charles JB, Riddle, JM, Rehbein,TI, Bungo,MW.(1991) Echocardiographic evaluation of the cardiovascular effects of short-duration spaceflight. J Clin Pharmacol 31:1024-1026.
³ Levine BD, Lane ID, Watenpaugh DE, Gaffney FA, Buckey JC, Blomquist CG. (1996) Maximal exercise performance after adaptation to microgravity J Appl Physiol.81:686-694.
⁴ Levine BD, Pawelczyk JA, Ertl AC, Cox JF, Zuckerman JH, Diedrich A, Biaggioni I. (2002). Human muscle sympathetic neural and hemodynamic responses to tilt following spaceflight. J Physiol 538:331-334.
⁵ Vernikos J, Ludwig DA, Ertl AC, Wade CE, Keil LC, O’Hara D.  (1996).  Effect of standing or walking on physiological changes induced by head down bed rest.  Aviat. Space Environ. Med. 67:1069-1079.
⁶ Convertino VA. (2002). Mechanisms of microgravity-induced orthostatic intolerance: implications for effective countermeasures. J.Gravit Physiol 9:1-13.
⁷ Delp MD (2007). Arterial adaptations in microgravity contribute to orthostatic tolerance. J Appl Physiol. 102:836.
⁸ Evans, JM, Knapp CM, Goswami. N, (2018). Artificial Gravity as a Countermeasure to the Cardiovascular Deconditioning of Spaceflight: Gender Perspectives,Frontiers in Physiology, July, 2018, doi:10.3389/phys.2018.00716
⁹Sasaki T, Iwasaki K I, Hirayanagi K, Yamaguchi N, Miyamoto A and Yajima K. (1999). Effects of daily 2Gz load on human cardiovascular function during weightlessness simulation using 4-day head-down bed rest. Jpn. J. Aerospace Environ. Med. 36:113–123. 
¹⁰Ritweger J, Bareille M-P, Clement G, Linnarson D, Paloski WH, Wuyts F, Zange J, Angerer O. (2013) Short-arm centrifugation as a partially effective musculoskeletal countermeasure during 5-day head-down tilt bed rest – results from the BRAG1 study. Eur.J.Appl Physiol. 113:1233-1244.DOI: 10:1007:/s00421-015-310-
¹¹ Diaz-Artiles A, Heldt T, Young LR. (2018) Short-term Cardiovascular Response to Short-Radius Centrifugation with and without Ergometer Exercise. Front Physiol.Nov13;9:1492. Doi: 10.3389/fphys.2018.01492.2018.
¹² Li XT, Yang CB, Zhu YS, Sun J, Shi F, Wang YC, Gao Y, Zhao JD, Sun XQ. (2017) Moderate exercise based on artificial gravity preserves orthostatic tolerance and exercise capacity during short-term head-down bed rest. Physiol Res. 2017 Sep 22;66(4):567-580. 
¹³ Kaderka JD (2010) A Critical Benefit Analysis of Artificial Gravity as a
Microgravity Countermeasure. MIT PhD thesis, pp.1-187

¹⁴Goswami, N. (2017). Falls and fall-prevention in older persons: geriatrics meets spaceflight! Front. Physiol. 8:603. doi:10.3389/fphys.2017.00603.
¹⁵ Martinez DA, Patterson-Buckendahl PE, Lust A, Shea-Rangel KM, Hoban-Higgins TM, Fuller CA, Vailas AC (1985). A noninvasive analysis of urinary musculoskeletal collagen metabolism markers from rhesus monkeys subject to chronic hypergravity. J.Appl Physiol.(1985)) 2008Oct, 105(4):1255-1261.
¹⁶ Evans JW, Smith AH, Boda JM. (1969) Fat metabolism and chronic acceleration. AmerPhysiol–Legacy Content 216:148-147.

¹⁷Evans J. W, Boda JM. (1970). Glucose metabolism and chronic acceleration. AmerJPhysiol–Legacy Content 219: 893-896.
¹⁸ McGeoch PD, McKeown J, Ramachandran Vilayanur S. Jones T, Jones SM, =Fuller SM (2016). Modulation of Body Mass Composition using Vestibular Nerve Stimulation, BioRx iv:087692.
¹⁹ Fuller, PM, Jones, T, Jones, SM, Fuller CA. (2002) Neurovestibular modulation of circadian and homeostatic regulation: vestibulohypothalamic connection? Proc Nat Acad Sci 99(24):15723-15728.
²⁰ Strollo F, Banger L, Fuller C. (2000) Testosterone urinary excretion rate increases during hypergravity in male monkeys. J Grav Physiol Jul 7 (2):181-182.

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