Although we may all have moments when we’re saying that we don’t want to live on this planet anymore, it actually can be worst than we imagine. Living in space can cause great changes to the brain, as well.
One recent study claims that living in space can actually cause an increase in the size of the brain.
Are humans suited for space travel?
This should be the more asked question rather than “when will we send humans to Mars?”. The researchers performed MRI scans for the brains of 11 astronauts before they went to the International Space Station. After their return, the same astronauts were scanned once more. After comparing the images, the researchers concluded that areas of the astronauts’ brains physically expanded in space. The culprit is the lack of gravity.
Dr. Larry A. Kramer, the lead author of the study, said:
When you’re in microgravity, fluid such as your venous blood no longer pools toward your lower extremities but redistributes headward,
That movement of fluid toward your head may be one of the mechanisms causing changes we are observing in the eye and intracranial compartment.
However, the lack of gravity from space is known to affect astronomers in other ways, as well. And in far more frightening ways, without a doubt. For instance, astronomers who had been in space for a certain amount of time couldn’t stay on their feet anymore when they came back to Earth. In the lack of stimulation received from the Earth’s gravity while they were in space, the muscles from the legs had gotten significantly weaker. They weren’t used to the Earth’s gravity anymore, even though they had been stimulated by it for their whole lives before leaving to space.
The new paper with the study for the brains of the astronauts was published in Radiology.