How Astronauts’ Brains Are Changed By Spaceflight

From an article by Rae Paoletta at Gizmodo:

Spaceflight is not for the faint of heart—literally. The first results of NASA’s twin study, released just this week, revealed that space physically impacts astronauts on multiple levels, right down to shifts in gene expression. Now, a group of scientists at the University of Michigan have released research that suggests spaceflight alters astronauts’ brains.

The team studied 26 astronauts who spent various amounts of time in space, between 2008 to 2012. Twelve of the astronauts spent two weeks as shuttle crew members, while the other 14 spent six months aboard the International Space Station (ISS). After examining structural MRIs from all the astronauts taken before and after spaceflight, the researchers found that all subjects experienced both increases and decreases in the volume of gray matter in different regions of the brain. Gray matter is responsible for many key functions, including muscle control, emotions, memory and sensory perception.

Naturally, those who spent more time in space were impacted more dramatically.

 

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Image Credit:      NASA

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2017-02-04T13:45:38+00:00

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