Human brain grows in space flights. This is what scientists have now researched and published in Radiology journal. Long term space flights will actually make the brains physically bigger, the researchers said.
They said that the grey matter, white matter and the cerebrospinal fluid around the brain grows. The researchers claimed that chronic exposure to intracranial pressure in spaceflight could be a factor that leads to bigger brains. However, the exact cause still remains unknown.
The researchers took the MRI of 11 astronauts before they went to the international space station. This included ten men and one woman astronaut. The MRI was scanned again when they returned. While comparing the two scans, the physical increase of the brain was noticed, they said.
The study also pointed out that long stay in the space could damage the pituitary gland. This is situated at the base of the skull and is responsible for the functioning of multiple glands in the body.
They also noticed that brain expansion persisted up to a year after the astronauts return from space.
Larry A Kramer led the study. The researchers said that the blood does not flow to lower extremities in microgravity. But it redistributes headwords, they added.
Kramer said that the movement of blood towards the head is likely to cause changes in the eye and intracranial compartment. The astronauts experience swelling of the optic nerve that connects the eye and the brain. This could lead to retinal bleeding, white patches in the retina and other issues in the eye.
Scientists have been exploring for many years how space flight affects astronauts physically and also mentally.