24 August 2019

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Science
6 Aug  2019 115

long-term spaceflight "squeezes" the brain

According to CNN, citing a source, long flights in outer space can cause problems with the brain, because astronauts are exposed to weak but constant radioactive radiation. Experiments conducted on mice showed that this kind of effect affects the degree of anxiety and memory of the subjects.

Previous studies looking at the effect of radiation on the brain have used shorter rates of exposure but higher doses of radiation, which the researchers of the new study say inaccurately reflects deep space conditions.

This study now shows that radiation delivered at space relevant dose rates (i.e. 1 mGy / day) over extended ties (6 months) elicits adverse neurocognitive effects - similar to our past studies using dose rates ~ 400 times higher.

In a new study, male mice were exposed to a low dose of radiation for 6 months. As a result, injuries of the prefrontal cortex (the area of ​​the brain in which complex cognitive processes occur) and the hippocampus (the site responsible for the formation of emotion and memory) were revealed.

University of California professor Charles Limoli says that "the dose of radiation received in space is almost identical to our laboratory measurements." In this regard, the scientist concludes that prolonged exposure to outer space worsens the neurocognitive processes of the brain.

These studies are necessary for the further protection of astronauts in space. Limoli also said that they are working in collaboration with NASA and are struggling to create medical and other countermeasures to protect the human body and brain in space.

“Radiation remains one of the biggest problems between humanity and the journey through the solar system,” the scientist said. In the future, it is planned to conduct a similar experiment, but already on female mice to identify the same pathologies.

 

 

Photo by CNN

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