Tuesday August 20, 2019

Space Radiation Can Hinder Formation of New Cells in Astronauts’ Brain Memory

The new research has filled an important gap in scientific knowledge in the study of the types of neutrons produced in the atmosphere or inside spacecraft during their atoms’ interactions with cosmic rays

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nasa
The team began with a simple mixture of hydrogen and 0.3 per cent carbon monoxide and heated it to 330-1,230 Celsius. They also exposed it to a high dose of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Pixabay

While several agencies are planning to establish new orbital space stations and send expeditions across the solar system, a team of Russian scientists has found that space radiation could temporarily hinder formation of new cells in brains’ memory centres.

The team from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT), however, found that effects of low-dose neutron and gamma ray (Y-ray) radiation had no impact on rodents’ intellectual capabilities, the Sputnik news agency reported.

It means the mice’s mental abilities and behaviour remained almost unaffected by the radiation, with memorisation occurring as normal and the rodents behaving in ways that were no different from the non-irradiated control group.

Irradiated and non-irradiated mice “showed no differences in terms of exploratory behaviour or anxiety, six weeks after the irradiation,” with their “ability to form hippocampus-dependent memory also unaffected,” according to the study published in the NeuroReport academic journal.

NASA
According to report, the biggest concern is radiation as such a mission would expose astronauts to levels of radiation greater than permitted under current guidelines. That would not necessarily prevent a mission, but it remains a concern. Pixabay

“We are not asserting that the behaviour and memory of irradiated mice remained completely unaffected,” Sputnik cited Alexander Lazutkin, a senior research scientist at the MIPT as saying to RIA Novosti news agency.

“The data on other types of radiation suggests that despite the apparent preservation of memories, its individual fine components may suffer. That means our work is just the beginning of this kind of research,” he said.

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The new research has filled an important gap in scientific knowledge in the study of the types of neutrons produced in the atmosphere or inside spacecraft during their atoms’ interactions with cosmic rays, the researchers said. (IANS)

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Researchers Discover a Way to Help Astronauts Spending Prolonged Time in Space Come Back to Earth

Dizziness or fainting due to changes in blood flow can occur after lengthy bed rest, among people with certain health disorders

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Researchers, Astronauts, Space
Orthostatic hypotension is the technical term for a temporary drop in blood pressure when a person stands up after sitting or lying down because blood rushes to the feet. Pixabay

Nearly 50 years after man’s first steps on the Moon, researchers have discovered a way that may help astronauts spending prolonged time in space come back to Earth on more stable footing.

Orthostatic hypotension is the technical term for a temporary drop in blood pressure when a person stands up after sitting or lying down because blood rushes to the feet, away from the brain.

Dizziness or fainting due to changes in blood flow can occur after lengthy bed rest, among people with certain health disorders or in the case of astronauts, being in a low-gravity environment.

“One of the biggest problems since the inception of the manned space program has been that astronauts have fainted when they came down to Earth. The longer the time in a gravity-free environment space, the greater the risk,” said Benjamin Levine, Professor at UT Southwestern Medical Center in the US.

Researchers, Astronauts, Space
Nearly 50 years after man’s first steps on the Moon, researchers have discovered a way that may help astronauts spending prolonged time in space come back to Earth on more stable footing. Pixabay

“This problem has bedeviled the space program for a long time, but this condition is something ordinary people often experience as well,” he said in the paper published in the Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

The study included 12 astronauts (eight men and four women, aged 43-56) who spent about six months in space. All performed individualized endurance and resistance exercise training for up to two hours daily during space flight to prevent cardiovascular, bone and muscle deconditioning. They also received a saline infusion upon landing.

The astronauts’ blood pressure was recorded with every heartbeat over each 24-hour period before, during and after their time in space.

The researchers found that there was minimal impact on their blood pressure during all phases of measurement and none of the astronauts in the study experienced dizziness or fainting during routine activities 24 hours after landing.

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This is the first study to demonstrate that astronauts do not experience dizziness or fainting during routine activity after landing, as long as they participate in certain types of exercise training while in flight and receive IV fluids when they return to earth.

“What surprised me the most was how well the astronauts did after spending six months in space. I thought there would be frequent episodes of fainting when they returned to Earth, but they didn’t have any,” Levine said.

“It’s compelling evidence of the effectiveness of the countermeasures — the exercise regimen and fluid replenishment,” he added. (IANS)