As a frequent traveler, naturally I’m interested in all sorts of travel topics. As a health and fitness professional, there’s a whole other set of topics I enjoy learning about. If there’s one place I am quite sure I’ll never visit, it’s outer space. Yet even with space travel not on my travel bucket list, when visiting destinations impacts health, especially brain health, I can’t help but be curious.
How Your Brain Changes in Space
It comes as no surprise that spending time in space can seriously change your brain. Heck, traveling on earth, crossing time zones, and sleeping and eating at irregular times makes many of us wonder if our brains are functioning at all.
It also comes as no surprise that researchers would want to study spaceflight’s effects on human health. One such study, the Twins study found many ways that space changes not just our bodies but our gene expression as well.
The newest research speaks to some of the “strange and unusual” ways astronauts are affected. Turns out with these brain changes in space, their eyesight is impaired.
Since the time of the very first shuttle programs, astronauts have reported post space travel eye issues. The research findings support the theory that spaceflight increases pressure in the head. The researchers think this could be tied to issues with astronaut vision, the lead researcher, Dr. Larry Kramer, told Space.com.
Without gravity our brains swell up. Unless on earth you’re doing hand stands all day, you wouldn’t normally experience the pooling of fluids and the swelling of your brain.
The researchers also found that these effects on vision were still present a year after the astronauts returned from space. Of course researchers are now looking for countermeasures to put into place so astronauts don’t suffer vision complications.
Besides the new research on space travel and your brain, I also discovered other weird facts about what happens to the human body in space. Let’s just say I’m in no rush to travel into space. For sure, though, I’m hoping that the clouds lift and travel resumes here on earth sometime soon. Dare I say I even miss jet lag??
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