Principal investigator for the ‘Brain-DTI’ study, Professor Floris Wuyts, discusses the experiment after a session on ESA’s parabolic flight that offers brief periods of weightlessness.
Researchers at the University of Antwerpen, Liege and Leuven in Belgium have devised the ‘Brain-DTI’ study to learn more about how astronauts’ brains adapt to spaceflight.
Before and after their flights, up to 16 astronauts will be put in an advanced MRI scanner. The images show the brain’s neural networks and how the connections change after the astronauts’ experiences in space.
For the first time a controlled study using advanced MRI methods is showing researchers where to look in the brain’s complex neural network to target areas for further study and cures.
The Brain-DTI study should finish collecting data in 2018 but the first paper, including also data from ESA parabolic flight campaigns, has already been published.