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Cosmic radiation will damage the brains of space travellers

Can we protect the brain from cosmic radiation? Medical News Today , As we prepare to enter a new era of space travel, we must find ways of averting health risks posed by the cosmic environment. Deep space radiation, in particular, is known to impair cognitive function………. One main threat comes from cosmic radiation, which can harm the central nervous system, altering cognitive function and leading to symptoms similar to those found in Alzheimer’s disease.

……. ‘Cosmic radiation may affect brain long-term’Previous research conducted by Rosi and team found that, after mice were exposed to a level of radiation roughly equivalent to what human astronauts might encounter during an outer space mission, their capacity to differentiate between familiar and unfamiliar objects was impaired.

Usually, when mice are faced with two objects — one that is new and unknown to them and one that they formerly explored — they will spend more time familiarizing themselves with the new object.

However, the animals that had been exposed to radiation tended to spend an equal amount of time exploring both objects, which suggested to the researchers that the mice had forgotten they had already been exposed to one of the two.

Other symptoms that the mice presented included problems with social interactions and a sense of elevated anxiety. Rosi and team note that this was likely because of the effect the strong radiation had on the microglia, or nerve cells found in the brain and spinal chord that are part of the central nervous system’s immune mechanism.

When microglia are activated, they can cause symptoms — such as impaired memory recall — that are consistent with those of neurodegenerative disorders.

This is partly due to the fact that they are driven to destroy synapses, or the connections formed between brain cells that allow them to convey information.

We are starting to have evidence that exposure to deep space radiation might affect brain function over the long-term, but as far as I know, no one had explored any possible countermeasures that might protect astronauts’ brains against this level of radiation exposure.”     Susanna Rosi………


May 25, 2018 - Posted by | radiation, technology

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