The human brain has neuroplasticity, ie it can change under the influence of experience, form new connections after injury and adapt throughout our lives. Due to neuroplasticity, our personality changes and becomes more complicated, even if we are out of student age. And our brain is able to restore lost connections in case of injury.
Such properties of human consciousness can not but interest scientists. Including in the era of active space exploration, researchers are interested in the impact of long flights and weightlessness on the human brain. Earlier, researchers from Russia, Germany and Sweden found that after returning to Earth in the blood of astronauts increases the content of proteins inherent in brain injuries.
Scientists analyzed blood samples taken from astronauts before and after the flight to the International Space Station (ISS), and found that prolonged stay in space can provoke brain damage. Experts stressed that this fact will need to be taken into account if space travel becomes more common in the future.
The new study is the first to analyze the structural changes that occur in the brain after a long space flight.
The results show significant microstructural changes in the white matter of the brain, namely in the sensorimotor tracts – the corpus callosum, arcuate bundle, corticospinal, corticosteroid and cerebellar tracts. This shows how the human brain adapts to the conditions of weightlessness and other limitations on board a ship.
The study involved 12 male astronauts who spent a total of 6 months on the ISS. It confirmed that the level of neuroplasticity of the brain adapts to weightlessness.
“We found changes in the neural connections between several motor areas of the brain. In the weightlessness of the astronaut must radically adapt their movement strategies. Our research shows that their brains are being rebuilt, ”the researchers said.
Scientists emphasize that this work may be the basis for future research on changes in the brain in weightlessness.
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