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Project Title:  Long-Term Brain Structural and Functional Consequences of Spaceflight Reduce
Images: icon  Fiscal Year: FY 2022 
Division: Human Research 
Research Discipline/Element:
HRP HFBP:Human Factors & Behavioral Performance (IRP Rev H)
Start Date: 03/15/2021  
End Date: 03/31/2029  
Task Last Updated: 01/14/2022 
Download report in PDF pdf
Principal Investigator/Affiliation:   Basner, Mathias  M.D., Ph.D. / University of Pennsylvania 
Address:  Department of Psychiatry, Division of Sleep and Chronobiology 
423 Service Dr, 1013 Blockley Hall 
Philadelphia , PA 19104-4209 
Email: basner@pennmedicine.upenn.edu 
Phone: 215-573-5866  
Congressional District:
Web:  
Organization Type: UNIVERSITY 
Organization Name: University of Pennsylvania 
Joint Agency:  
Comments:  
Co-Investigator(s)
Affiliation: 
Dinges, David  Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania 
Gunga, Hanns-Christian  M.D. Charite - Universitatsmedizin Berlin, Germany 
Gur, Ruben  Ph.D. The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania 
Hartley, Tom  Ph.D. University of York, United Kingdom 
Kuehn, Simone  Ph.D. Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin, Germany 
Riecke, Bernhard  Ph.D. Simon Fraser University, Canada 
Roalf, David  Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania 
Bell, Suzanne  Ph.D. NASA Johnson Space Center 
Stangl, Matthias  Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles 
Whiting, Sara  Ph.D. NASA/Lyndon B Johnson Space Center 
Wolbers, Thomas  Ph.D. German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Germany 
Stahn, Alexander  Ph.D. Charite - Universitatsmedizin Berlin, Germany 
Project Information: Grant/Contract No. 80NSSC21K1698 
Responsible Center: NASA JSC 
Grant Monitor: Whitmire, Alexandra  
Center Contact:  
alexandra.m.whitmire@nasa.gov 
Solicitation / Funding Source: 2019-2020 HERO 80JSC019N0001-HHCBPSR, OMNIBUS2: Human Health Countermeasures, Behavioral Performance, and Space Radiation-Appendix C; Omnibus2-Appendix D 
Grant/Contract No.: 80NSSC21K1698 
Project Type: GROUND 
Flight Program:  
TechPort: No 
No. of Post Docs:
No. of PhD Candidates:
No. of Master's Candidates:
No. of Bachelor's Candidates:
No. of PhD Degrees:
No. of Master's Degrees:
No. of Bachelor's Degrees:
Human Research Program Elements: (1) HFBP:Human Factors & Behavioral Performance (IRP Rev H)
(2) HHC:Human Health Countermeasures
Human Research Program Risks: (1) Bmed:Risk of Adverse Behavioral Conditions and Psychiatric Disorders
(2) SANS:Risk of Spaceflight Associated Neuro-ocular Syndrome (IRP Rev I)
(3) Sensorimotor:Risk of Altered Sensorimotor/Vestibular Function Impacting Critical Mission Tasks (Revised as of IRP Rev M)
Human Research Program Gaps: (1) BMed-102:Given exposures to spaceflight hazards (space radiation, isolation), how do we identify individual susceptibility, monitor molecular/biomarkers and acceptable thresholds, and validate behavioral health and CNS/neurological/neuropsychological performance measures and domains of relevance to exploration class missions? (IRP Rev L)
(2) BMed-108:Given each crewmember will experience multiple spaceflight hazards simultaneously, we need to identify and characterize the potential additive, antagonistic, or synergistic impacts of multiple stressors (e.g., space radiation, altered gravity, isolation, altered immune, altered sleep) on crew health and/or CNS/ cognitive functioning to develop threshold limits and validate countermeasures for any identified adverse crew health and/or operationally-relevant performance outcomes (IRP Rev L)
(3) SANS-101:Determine the relationship between fluid shifts (intravascular, interstitial, CSF) and ocular manifestations in astronauts during spaceflight (IRP Rev M)
(4) SANS-102:Determine the relationship between the fluid-shifts induced ocular changes and fluid shifts in the CNS, including whether elevated intracranial pressure or brain edema play a role (IRP Rev L)
(5) SM-104:Evaluate how weightlessness-induced changes in sensorimotor/vestibular function relate to and/or interact with changes in other brain functions (sleep, cognition, attention) (IRP Rev M)
Flight Assignment/Project Notes: NOTE: End date changed to 03/31/2029 per L. Juliette/JSC (Ed., 5/3/22).

Task Description: Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the brain before and immediately following long-duration International Space Station (ISS) flights as well as Antarctic winter-over missions have revealed structural changes, but the time course of recovery and clinical significance remain unclear. This international proposal will “determine if exposure to long-duration spaceflight leads to neural structural alterations and if this remodeling impacts cognitive and functional performance” (HRP Gap BMed-107). To accomplish this, we propose to leverage data from our already funded integrated 1-Year Mission Project (i1YMP) and extend the follow-up period for N=20 astronauts on 6- and 12-month ISS missions to 3-years post-flight (this follow-up period can be extended should structural and functional brain changes not be fully reversible within 3 years after return from the ISS). Measures of cognitive function include the Cognition test battery (developed by NASA Principal Investigator Dr. Basner and his team), a Spatial Cognition test battery (developed by German Aerospace Center (DLR)/European Space Agency (ESA) Principal Investigator Dr. Stahn and his team), and NASA’s standard WinSCAT test battery (which currently is last performed 30 days post-flight). These tests will be performed up to 7 times post-flight, which will provide an exceptional resolution in mapping the recovery time course of any observed decrements in cognitive performance across a wide range of cognitive domains and constructs. The cognitive data will also be used to either extend existing or start building normative databases. In our i1YMP, we perform structural and functional MRI scans in astronauts before and immediately after the mission. These scans include, but go beyond, protocols that were the basis for several recent publications that observed structural brain changes in astronauts immediately post-flight and can thus augment these data sets. In our i1YMP, astronauts perform a functional MRI version of Cognition (Project A) as well as a complex Mars navigation task (Project B) in the scanner, which allows us to link task-specific changes in brain plasticity with any relevant changes in neurobehavioral performance with the Cognition and Spatial Cognition batteries, and assess their neural basis. T1- and T2-weighted structural scans will be used to investigate changes in brain structures that have been implicated in the development of the Spaceflight Associated Neuro-ocular Syndrome (SANS) (e.g., upward shift of the brain, increases in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) volume with periventricular white matter hyperintensities; Human Research Program (HRP) Gaps SANS1 and 13; Project A) and that have been shown to be most vulnerable to spaceflight stressors (i.e., visuospatial brain domain changes; Project B). Seven post-flight scans (R+3, R+5, R+30, R+180, R+360, R+720, R+1080) will provide an unmatched resolution in mapping the recovery time course. Clinical significance of cognitive and MRI data will be based on deviations from pre-flight measurements as well as from normative data collected in other astronauts and astronaut-surrogate populations. In summary, this international project will monitor changes in brain structure and function up to 3-years post-flight to determine 1) whether they persist in some astronauts, 2) if so, for how long, and 3) whether there are any long-term health consequences. It will thus deliver critical insights into the time course of brain changes and their functional relevance observed in astronauts after ISS missions lasting 6-months and longer. Synergies between the projects will be used to provide NASA and DLR/ESA with insights that go beyond the specific aims of the individual projects.

Research Impact/Earth Benefits: Detailed astronaut follow-up after return from spaceflight has historically been limited to a few weeks, which prevents conclusions about long-term health consequences of astronauts, especially after longer stays in space. This study will follow astronauts for up to 5 years after >=6 months missions. The research partially translates to similar stressful long-term exposure situations on Earth.

Task Progress & Bibliography Information FY2022 
Task Progress: This project is being combined with the work of three other PIs who responded to the same solicitation with independent proposals. During this reporting period, the protocols and aims from all four PIs are being integrated into a revised integrated proposal that will be delivered to NASA Human Health Countermeasures (HHC) and NASA Human Factors and Behavioral Performance (HFBP) Element scientists in January 2022. To reach this goal, the research team determined how to combine MRI sessions from multiple PIs, identified and removed overlapping procedures, and made substantial progress towards having a single, integrated budget.

Bibliography Type: Description: (Last Updated: 12/22/2021) 

Show Cumulative Bibliography Listing
 
 None in FY 2022
Project Title:  Long-Term Brain Structural and Functional Consequences of Spaceflight Reduce
Images: icon  Fiscal Year: FY 2021 
Division: Human Research 
Research Discipline/Element:
HRP HFBP:Human Factors & Behavioral Performance (IRP Rev H)
Start Date: 03/15/2021  
End Date: 03/14/2022  
Task Last Updated: 10/04/2021 
Download report in PDF pdf
Principal Investigator/Affiliation:   Basner, Mathias  M.D., Ph.D. / University of Pennsylvania 
Address:  Department of Psychiatry, Division of Sleep and Chronobiology 
423 Service Dr, 1013 Blockley Hall 
Philadelphia , PA 19104-4209 
Email: basner@pennmedicine.upenn.edu 
Phone: 215-573-5866  
Congressional District:
Web:  
Organization Type: UNIVERSITY 
Organization Name: University of Pennsylvania 
Joint Agency:  
Comments:  
Co-Investigator(s)
Affiliation: 
Dinges, David  Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania 
Gunga, Hanns-Christian  M.D. Charite - Universitatsmedizin Berlin, Germany 
Gur, Ruben  Ph.D. The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania 
Hartley, Tom  Ph.D. University of York, United Kingdom 
Kuehn, Simone  Ph.D. Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin, Germany 
Riecke, Bernhard  Ph.D. Simon Fraser University, Canada 
Roalf, David  Ph.D. University of Pennsylvania 
Bell, Suzanne  Ph.D. NASA Johnson Space Center 
Stangl, Matthias  Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles 
Whiting, Sara  Ph.D. NASA/Lyndon B Johnson Space Center 
Wolbers, Thomas  Ph.D. German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Germany 
Stahn, Alexander  Ph.D. Charite - Universitatsmedizin Berlin, Germany 
Project Information: Grant/Contract No. 80NSSC21K1698 
Responsible Center: NASA JSC 
Grant Monitor: Whitmire, Alexandra  
Center Contact:  
alexandra.m.whitmire@nasa.gov 
Solicitation / Funding Source: 2019-2020 HERO 80JSC019N0001-HHCBPSR, OMNIBUS2: Human Health Countermeasures, Behavioral Performance, and Space Radiation-Appendix C; Omnibus2-Appendix D 
Grant/Contract No.: 80NSSC21K1698 
Project Type: GROUND 
Flight Program:  
TechPort: No 
No. of Post Docs:  
No. of PhD Candidates:  
No. of Master's Candidates:  
No. of Bachelor's Candidates:  
No. of PhD Degrees:  
No. of Master's Degrees:  
No. of Bachelor's Degrees:  
Human Research Program Elements: (1) HFBP:Human Factors & Behavioral Performance (IRP Rev H)
(2) HHC:Human Health Countermeasures
Human Research Program Risks: (1) Bmed:Risk of Adverse Behavioral Conditions and Psychiatric Disorders
(2) SANS:Risk of Spaceflight Associated Neuro-ocular Syndrome (IRP Rev I)
(3) Sensorimotor:Risk of Altered Sensorimotor/Vestibular Function Impacting Critical Mission Tasks (Revised as of IRP Rev M)
Human Research Program Gaps: (1) BMed-102:Given exposures to spaceflight hazards (space radiation, isolation), how do we identify individual susceptibility, monitor molecular/biomarkers and acceptable thresholds, and validate behavioral health and CNS/neurological/neuropsychological performance measures and domains of relevance to exploration class missions? (IRP Rev L)
(2) BMed-108:Given each crewmember will experience multiple spaceflight hazards simultaneously, we need to identify and characterize the potential additive, antagonistic, or synergistic impacts of multiple stressors (e.g., space radiation, altered gravity, isolation, altered immune, altered sleep) on crew health and/or CNS/ cognitive functioning to develop threshold limits and validate countermeasures for any identified adverse crew health and/or operationally-relevant performance outcomes (IRP Rev L)
(3) SANS-101:Determine the relationship between fluid shifts (intravascular, interstitial, CSF) and ocular manifestations in astronauts during spaceflight (IRP Rev M)
(4) SANS-102:Determine the relationship between the fluid-shifts induced ocular changes and fluid shifts in the CNS, including whether elevated intracranial pressure or brain edema play a role (IRP Rev L)
(5) SM-104:Evaluate how weightlessness-induced changes in sensorimotor/vestibular function relate to and/or interact with changes in other brain functions (sleep, cognition, attention) (IRP Rev M)
Task Description: Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the brain before and immediately following long-duration International Space Station (ISS) flights as well as Antarctic winter-over missions have revealed structural changes, but the time course of recovery and clinical significance remain unclear. This international proposal will “determine if exposure to long-duration spaceflight leads to neural structural alterations and if this remodeling impacts cognitive and functional performance” (HRP Gap CBS-SM26). To accomplish this, we propose to leverage data from our already funded integrated 1-Year Mission Project (i1YMP) and extend the follow-up period for N=20 astronauts on 6- and 12-month ISS missions to 3-years post-flight (this follow-up period can be extended should structural and functional brain changes not be fully reversible within 3 years after return from the ISS). Measures of cognitive function include the Cognition test battery (developed by NASA Principal Investigator Dr. Basner and his team), a Spatial Cognition test battery (developed by German Aerospace Center (DLR)/European Space Agency (ESA) Principal Investigator Dr. Stahn and his team), and NASA’s standard WinSCAT test battery (which currently is last performed 30 days post-flight). These tests will be performed up to 7 times post-flight, which will provide an exceptional resolution in mapping the recovery time course of any observed decrements in cognitive performance across a wide range of cognitive domains and constructs. The cognitive data will also be used to either extend existing or start building normative databases. In our i1YMP, we perform structural and functional MRI scans in astronauts before and immediately after the mission. These scans include, but go beyond, protocols that were the basis for several recent publications that observed structural brain changes in astronauts immediately post-flight and can thus augment these data sets. In our i1YMP, astronauts perform a functional MRI version of Cognition (Project A) as well as a complex Mars navigation task (Project B) in the scanner, which allows us to link task-specific changes in brain plasticity with any relevant changes in neurobehavioral performance with the Cognition and Spatial Cognition batteries, and assess their neural basis. T1- and T2-weighted structural scans will be used to investigate changes in brain structures that have been implicated in the development of the Spaceflight Associated Neuro-ocular Syndrome (SANS) (e.g., upward shift of the brain, increases in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) volume with periventricular white matter hyperintensities; Human Research Program (HRP) Gaps SANS1 and 13; Project A) and that have been shown to be most vulnerable to spaceflight stressors (i.e., visuospatial brain domain changes; Project B). Seven post-flight scans (R+3, R+5, R+30, R+180, R+360, R+720, R+1080) will provide an unmatched resolution in mapping the recovery time course. Clinical significance of cognitive and MRI data will be based on deviations from pre-flight measurements as well as from normative data collected in other astronauts and astronaut-surrogate populations.

In summary, this international project will monitor changes in brain structure and function up to 3-years post-flight to determine 1) whether they persist in some astronauts, 2) if so, for how long, and 3) whether there are any long-term health consequences. It will thus deliver critical insights into the time course of brain changes and their functional relevance observed in astronauts after ISS missions lasting 6-months and longer. Synergies between the projects will be used to provide NASA and DLR/ESA with insights that go beyond the specific aims of the individual projects.

[Ed. Note, Sept 2021: HRP Gap numbers listed above are not current. For the current list of HRP Gaps, see updates at the Human Research Roadmap: https://humanresearchroadmap.nasa.gov/ ].

Research Impact/Earth Benefits:

Task Progress & Bibliography Information FY2021 
Task Progress: New project for FY2021.

Bibliography Type: Description: (Last Updated: 12/22/2021) 

Show Cumulative Bibliography Listing
 
 None in FY 2021