August 6, 2019 - 10:54 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - On a long-term spaceflight mission to Mars, astronauts will be continuously exposed to low-dose radiation in deep space. A new study found that this exposure can cause impairments in the brains of mice, resulting in learning and memory issues as well as anxiety, CNN reports.
The study was published Monday in the journal eNeuro.
Previous studies looking at the effect of radiation on the brain have used shorter rates of exposure but higher doses of radiation, which the researchers of the new study say inaccurately reflects deep space conditions.
This study now shows that radiation delivered at space relevant dose rates (i.e. 1 mGy/day) over extended ties ( 6 months) elicits adverse neurocognitive effects - similar to our past studies using dose rates ~ 400 times higher.
In the new study, male mice were exposed to chronic low-dose radiation for six months. After six months had passed, the researchers found that signaling in the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus was impaired by the radiation.
This created impairments in both memory and learning for the mice.
The researchers also observed behaviors indicating anxiety in the mice, which led them to believe that the radiation also affected the amygdala.