Saturday, October 16

Long trips into space can cause brain damage | Digital Trends Spanish

An investigation published in JAMA Neurology has revealed that long trips into space can cause brain damage in astronauts.

The work included blood samples taken from Russian cosmonauts before and after long stays on the International Space Station (ISS).

The results of the study have shown a considerable increase in several biomarkers that could indicate brain damage.

The study

This new work analyzed five cosmonauts. Each of them spent an average of 169 days in space.

The researchers took blood samples from each subject before leaving Earth and at three moments after their return.

Five different blood biomarkers were measured, each related to some type of brain damage.

Getty Images.

Three of the biomarkers tested were found to be considerably elevated after returning to Earth: neurofilament light (NfL), glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), and a specific type of amyloid beta protein.

“Increases in both Aβ (beta amyloid) proteins throughout the post-flight phase potentially represent a cumulative association of cerebrospinal fluid displacement with interstitial tissue,” the researchers note.

“We speculate that the elevation of amyloid proteins back to Earth represents a washout phase after months of hampered protein residue removal, as albumin has been shown to remain stable or even decline.”

In a press release, the study’s lead author, Henrik Zetterberg, a neuroscientist at the University of Gothenburg, highlights the importance of the newly published work:

“This is the first time that concrete evidence of damage to brain cells has been documented in blood tests after space flights,” says the researcher.

“This needs to be further explored and prevented if space travel is to become more common in the future.”

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