Astronauts suffer brain and eye damage after a month in space

A new study of 27 astronauts is proving a little alarming – showing those who spend a month or more in space suffer brain and eye damage.

The journal of Radiology is reporting the study, which used MRI scans on the NASA astronauts. The scans showed varying degrees of damage done to their pituitary glands, optic nerves and eyeballs. Seven of the men were now long sighted due to flattening of one or both eyeballs. In some there was disfigurement around the pituitary gland and in others the optic nerves had swelling around them.

Most space journeys last only a couple of weeks, however, those working on the space station can be in the outer limits for up to six months and if a mission goes to Mars, that could be for more than a year.

According to study head, Larry Kramer of the University of Texas Health Science Centre in Houston, this could be from cerebrospinal fluid building up in the brains of the astronauts due to exposure to micro-gravity in space.

“Microgravity-induced intracranial hypertension represents a hypothetical risk factor and a potential limitation to long-duration space travel. Consider the possible impact on proposed manned missions to Mars or even the concept of space tourism. Can risks be eventually mitigated? Can abnormalities detected be completely reversed? The next step is confirming the findings, defining causation and working towards a solution based on solid evidence.”

Think I’ll wait to book my Virgin Galactic space shuttle tour until after they do more research on the matter. Source.

Science and Tech

A freelance writer & radio announcer with a general love for the bizarre, the weird and the unique.
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