Menu

 

The NASA Task Book
Advanced Search     

Project Title:  Cognitive/Behavioral, Sensory, & Motor Changes Induced by Solar Particle Event (SPE) and Galactic Cosmic Ray (GCR) Irradiations Reduce
Fiscal Year: FY 2011 
Division: Human Research 
Research Discipline/Element:
HRP SR:Space Radiation
Start Date: 01/01/2009  
End Date: 12/31/2010  
Task Last Updated: 03/28/2011 
Download report in PDF pdf
Principal Investigator/Affiliation:   Hienz, Robert D. Ph.D. / The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine 
Address:  Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences 
5510 Nathan Shock Drive 
Baltimore , MD 21224-6823 
Email: bhienz@jhmi.edu 
Phone: 410-550-2788  
Congressional District:
Web:  
Organization Type: UNIVERSITY 
Organization Name: The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine 
Joint Agency:  
Comments:  
Co-Investigator(s)
Affiliation: 
Weed, Michael  Johns Hopkins University 
Key Personnel Changes / Previous PI: (November 2009): A new Postdoctoral Fellow, Catherine M. Davis, Ph.D., was added to the project. Dr. Davis assisted the Principal Investigator in project management and publication preparation, and was responsible for managing technical aspects of the project (hardware purchasing and construction, software development of behavioral control programs and data analysis software), as well as daily oversight and conduct of the studies.
Project Information: Grant/Contract No. NNX09AC52G 
Responsible Center: NASA JSC 
Grant Monitor: Cucinott1a, Francis  
Center Contact: 281-483-0968 
noaccess@nasa.gov 
Solicitation / Funding Source: 2008 Space Radiobiology NNJ08ZSA001N 
Grant/Contract No.: NNX09AC52G 
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) SR:Space Radiation
Human Research Program Risks: (1) CNS:Risk of Acute (In-flight) and Late Central Nervous System Effects from Radiation Exposure (IRP Rev G)
Human Research Program Gaps: (1) CNS01:What are significant adverse changes in CNS performance in the context and time scale of space flight operations? How is significance defined, and which neuropsychological domains are affected? Is there a significant probability that space radiation exposure would result in adverse changes? What are the pathways and mechanisms of change? (IRP Rev F)
Flight Assignment/Project Notes: NOTE: Received NCE through 12/31/2010, per J. Dardano/JSC; original end date was 12/31/2009 (9/2009)

Task Description: Assessing the biological consequences of living in the space radiation environment represents one of the highest priority areas of NASA research. Of critical importance is the need for an assessment of the vulnerabilities of the central nervous system (CNS) leading to functional neurobehavioral changes during long-term space missions, and the development of effective countermeasures to such risks. The present research addressed this need via the application of a comprehensive animal model to determine the effects of radiation exposure on neurobehavioral tests of vigilance and impulsivity.

This 1-year project assessed the likelihood of space radiation producing immediate and/or long-term functional changes in the CNS by measuring neurobehavioral function in rodents via animal tests analogous to "vigilance" tests in humans and relevant to astronaut mission performance effectiveness. Groups of animals were trained on the task, following which they received head-only radiation and were then re-tested immediately as well as periodically for up to 12 months post-exposure to assess potential long-term performance deficits. Results demonstrated that exposure to protons (150 MEV) in the range of 50–200 cGy can produce significant decrements in sustained attention and motor speed.

Research Impact/Earth Benefits: Research conducted on the effects of ionizing radiation on cognitive/behavioral function provides the basis for extrapolating the effects of the space radiation environment on human cognitive function and performance. The Earth-based applications of this research extend to providing a means for generalizing these effects to numerous types of radiation exposures (e.g., workplace, medical) on earth. Thus the outcomes of these studies are expected to have an important impact on safety and the quality of life in many Earth-based applied settings, and the society at large will further benefit from the resulting methodological advances that effectively provide quantitative risk assessments for radiation exposure on cognitive function. In addition, the development of a comprehensive and experimentally flexible animal model of neurobehavioral performance provides a useful tool for preclinical research and development in other domains such as sleep/chronobiology, neuropsychiatric disorders, aging, and cognitive enhancement.

Task Progress & Bibliography Information FY2011 
Task Progress: The 1-year project focused on the use of an animal model that employs neurobehavioral tests identical or homologous to those currently in use in human models of risk assessment by U.S. agencies such as the Department of Defense and Federal Aviation and Federal Railroad Administrations for monitoring performance and estimating accident risks associated with such variables as fatigue and/or alcohol or drug abuse. As a first approximation for establishing human risk assessments due to exposure to space radiation, the present work provided animal performance data obtained with the rPVT (rat Psychomotor Vigilance Test), an animal analog of the human PVT that is currently employed for human risk assessments via quantification of sustained attention (e.g., ‘vigilance’ or ‘readiness to perform’ tasks). Ground-based studies indicate that radiation can induce neurobehavioral changes in rodents, including impaired performance on motor tasks and deficits in spatial learning and memory. The present study tested the hypothesis that radiation exposure impairs motor function, performance accuracy, vigilance, motivation, and memory in adult male rats.

The psychomotor vigilance test (PVT) was originally developed as a human cognitive neurobehavioral assay for tracking the temporally dynamic changes in sustained attention, and has also been used to track changes in circadian rhythm. In humans the test requires responding to a small, bright-red-light stimulus (LED-digital counter) as soon as the stimulus appears, which stops the stimulus counter and displays the reaction time for each trial in milliseconds for a 1-sec period. Simple to perform, the PVT has only very minor learning effects, is widely used in human risk assessments in operational environments, and has been recently developed and adopted for use on the ISS for astronauts as a “self test” to provide performance feedback, detect changes in alertness, prevent errors, and manage fatigue from sleep loss, circadian disruption, and high workload requirements. A rodent version of the PVT, the rPVT, has been developed and demonstrated to track the same types of performance variables as the human PVT – i.e., general motor function and speed, fine motor control, inhibitory control (“impulsivity”), timing, selective attention, motivation, and basic sensory function. Five cohorts of 16 rats each (total N = 80) were trained on the rPVT, exported to BNL for head-only radiation exposure (0, 25, 50, 100, and 200 cGy protons @ 150 MeV/n), then returned to Johns Hopkins for follow-up testing.

For this project, an automated, computerized training and testing facility was developed for measuring long-term effects of radiation exposure on cognitive/behavioral functions involving vigilance and impulsivity in rodents at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. Establishment of the test facility included 10 experimental testing chambers and associated equipment for assessing neurobehavioral function in rodents as well as for the daily automated, computerized training and testing of behavioral functions in test subjects. The facility supported both the exportation of groups of well-trained subjects to radiation exposure facilities such as Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) and the Department of Radiation Oncology of the Johns Hopkins Hospital, as well as the importation of radiation-exposed rodents from such facilities for detailed, long-term neurobehavioral risk assessments at our facility.

Results of the study demonstrated that the rPVT was readily learned by all rats and required as little as 5-7 days of training to acquire baseline performance levels. Validation data were also obtained to compare the performances on the PVT between humans and rodents; these data demonstrated that comparable performances were observed across species in terms of speed and distribution of response latencies, and the relative frequencies of performance lapses and errors of commission (i.e., premature responding). Following irradiation, performances in the rPVT were disrupted at exposure levels of 50, 100, and 200 cGy, showing a consistent, significant increase (i.e., slowing) in reaction times and increased lapses in responding, both indicative of a decrease in sustained attention. Additionally, premature responses showed consistent increases at the higher radiation levels. None of these changes were observed in the non-exposed control animals. Over this same time period, no significant changes were observed in discrimination accuracy, motivation (as indicated by trials completed), or food intake. Additional analyses also demonstrated a division within the exposure groups such that approximately 45-50% of exposed animals evidenced neurobehavioral deficits following radiation (“responders”), while the remainder of exposed animals were unaffected (“non-responders”). When analyzed separately, the responder groups showed distinct deficits in accuracy rates, lapses in attention, and in response speed, with these effects being independent of dose. That is, responder animals in the 25, 50, 100, and 200 cGy groups all evidenced similar degrees of disruption in sustained attention. Additionally, the changes in sustained attention were tracked over time for up to 1 year post-exposure and found to persist over this extended time period.

These results demonstrated the sensitivity of tests such as the rPVT for assessing the effects of head-only space radiation on cognitive neurobehavioral function. Exposure to protons at relatively low doses (e.g., 25 and 50 cGy) produced highly specific effects on vigilance that included impaired attention and motor function (i.e., slowed reaction times, increased lapses in attention, and increased premature responding). Such deficits could significantly impact routine performances in operational environments during lunar and Mars missions, and also negatively affect post-mission adjustment upon return to Earth. These findings support the likely continued success of the rodent model for studying the cognitive, neurobehavioral, and CNS risks associated with living in the space radiation environment while providing an innovative experimental platform for exploring the bases of individual vulnerability to radiation-induced impairments and evaluating potential prophylactics, countermeasures, and treatments.

Bibliography Type: Description: (Last Updated: 01/12/2021) 

Show Cumulative Bibliography Listing
 
Abstracts for Journals and Proceedings Hienz RD, Weed MR, Roma PG, Guida PM, Gooden VL, Brady JV. "Detecting the Effects of Neurobehavioral Function to Space Radiation. " 2009 NASA Human Research Program Investigators’ Workshop, Houston, TX, February 2-4, 2009.

2009 NASA Human Research Program Investigators’ Workshop, Houston, TX, February 2-4, 2009. Abstract #1026. , Feb-2009

Abstracts for Journals and Proceedings Hienz RD, Davis CM, Weed MR, Roma PG, Guida PM, Gooden VL, Brady JV. "Detecting the effects of space radiation on neurobehavioral function." 2010 NASA Human Research Program Investigators’ Workshop, Houston, TX, February 3-5, 2010.

2010 NASA Human Research Program Investigators’ Workshop, Houston, TX, February 3-5, 2010. Abstract #1021. http://www.dsls.usra.edu/meetings/hrp2010/pdf/BHP/1021Hienz.pdf , Feb-2010

Abstracts for Journals and Proceedings Hienz RD, Davis CM, Weed MR, Guida PM, Gooden VL, Brady JV, Roma PG. "Neurobehavioral effects of space radiation on Psychomotor Vigilance Tests." 21st Annual NASA Space Radiation Investigators' Workshop, Port Jefferson, NY, May 16-19, 2010.

Program and abstracts. 21st Annual NASA Space Radiation Investigators' Workshop, Port Jefferson, NY, May 16-19, 2010. p. 88. , May-2010

Abstracts for Journals and Proceedings Hienz RD, Davis CM, Weed MR, Guida PM, Gooden VL, Brady JV, Roma PG. "Neurobehavioral effects of space radiation on psychomotor vigilance tests." Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) 2010 38th Scientific Assembly, Bremen, Germany, July 18-25, 2010.

COSPAR Abstract Book. Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) 2010 38th Scientific Assembly, Bremen, Germany, July 18-25, 2010. https://www.cospar-assembly.org/abstractcd/COSPAR-10/abstracts/data/pdf/abstracts/F23-0007-10.pdf , Jul-2010

Abstracts for Journals and Proceedings Hienz RD, Davis CM, Weed MR, Roma PG, Guida PM, Gooden VL, Brady JV. "Detection and Prevention of Neurobehavioral Vulnerability to Space Radiation." NASA Behavioral Health and Performance Investigators’ Workshop, Houston, TX, August 4-6, 2010.

NASA Behavioral Health and Performance Investigators’ Workshop, Houston, TX, August 4-6, 2010. , Aug-2010

Project Title:  Cognitive/Behavioral, Sensory, & Motor Changes Induced by Solar Particle Event (SPE) and Galactic Cosmic Ray (GCR) Irradiations Reduce
Fiscal Year: FY 2010 
Division: Human Research 
Research Discipline/Element:
HRP SR:Space Radiation
Start Date: 01/01/2009  
End Date: 12/31/2010  
Task Last Updated: 11/16/2009 
Download report in PDF pdf
Principal Investigator/Affiliation:   Hienz, Robert D. Ph.D. / The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine 
Address:  Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences 
5510 Nathan Shock Drive 
Baltimore , MD 21224-6823 
Email: bhienz@jhmi.edu 
Phone: 410-550-2788  
Congressional District:
Web:  
Organization Type: UNIVERSITY 
Organization Name: The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine 
Joint Agency:  
Comments:  
Co-Investigator(s)
Affiliation: 
Weed, Michael  Johns Hopkins University 
Key Personnel Changes / Previous PI: (November 2009): A new Postdoctoral Fellow, Catherine M. Davis, Ph.D., is now on the project. Dr. Davis is assisting the Principal Investigator in project management and publication preparation, and is responsible for managing technical aspects of the project (hardware purchasing and construction, software development of behavioral control programs and data analysis software), as well as daily oversight and conduct of the studies.
Project Information: Grant/Contract No. NNX09AC52G 
Responsible Center: NASA JSC 
Grant Monitor: Cucinott1a, Francis  
Center Contact: 281-483-0968 
noaccess@nasa.gov 
Solicitation / Funding Source: 2008 Space Radiobiology NNJ08ZSA001N 
Grant/Contract No.: NNX09AC52G 
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) SR:Space Radiation
Human Research Program Risks: (1) CNS:Risk of Acute (In-flight) and Late Central Nervous System Effects from Radiation Exposure (IRP Rev G)
Human Research Program Gaps: (1) CNS01:What are significant adverse changes in CNS performance in the context and time scale of space flight operations? How is significance defined, and which neuropsychological domains are affected? Is there a significant probability that space radiation exposure would result in adverse changes? What are the pathways and mechanisms of change? (IRP Rev F)
Flight Assignment/Project Notes: NOTE: Received NCE through 12/31/2010, per J. Dardano/JSC; original end date was 12/31/2009 (9/2009)

Task Description: Assessing the biological consequences of living in the space radiation environment represents one of the highest priority areas of NASA research. Of critical importance is the need for an assessment of the vulnerabilities of the central nervous system (CNS) leading to functional neurobehavioral changes during long-term space missions, and the development of effective countermeasures to such risks. The present research addresses this need via the application of a comprehensive animal model to determine the effects of radiation exposure on neurobehavioral tests of vigilance and impulsivity.

This 1-year project is assessing the likelihood of space radiation producing immediate and/or long-term functional changes in the CNS by measuring neurobehavioral function in rodents via animal tests analogous to "vigilance" tests in humans and relevant to astronaut mission performance effectiveness. Groups of animals are trained on the task, following which they receive head-only radiation and then re-tested immediately as well as periodically for up to 12 months post-exposure to assess potential long-term performance deficits. To determine the likely mechanisms of damage to the CNS following radiation exposure, (e.g., radiation-induced changes in neurotransmitter system function), this research is also testing the hypothesis that, since monoamine neurotransmitter systems are implicated in vigilance and impulsivity, radiation-induced damage to monoamine neurotransmitter systems is responsible for the cognitive/behavioral impairment following exposure to space radiation.

Research Impact/Earth Benefits: Research conducted on the effects of ionizing radiation on cognitive/behavioral function will provide the basis for extrapolating the effects of the space radiation environment on human cognitive function and performance. The Earth-based applications of this research will extend to providing a means for generalizing these effects to numerous types of radiation exposures (e.g., workplace, medical) on earth. Thus the outcomes of these studies are expected to have an important impact on safety and the quality of life in many Earth-based applied settings, and the society at large will further benefit from the resulting methodological advances that effectively provide quantitative risk assessments for radiation exposure on cognitive function.

Task Progress & Bibliography Information FY2010 
Task Progress: Progress during this first year consists of the development of an automated, computerized training and testing facility for measuring long-term effects of radiation exposure on cognitive/behavioral functions involving vigilance and impulsivity in rodents at the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions. Initial establishment of the laboratory has been completed, and includes 10 experimental testing chambers and associated equipment for assessing neurobehavioral function in rodents, and provide for the daily automated, computerized training and testing of behavioral functions in test subjects. The facility supports both the exportation of groups of well-trained subjects to radiation exposure facilities such as Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) and the Department of Radiation Oncology of the Johns Hopkins Hospital, as well as the importation of radiation-exposed rodents from such facilities for detailed, long-term neurobehavioral risk assessments at our facility.

During this one-year period, 80 rats have been trained on a rodent psychomotor vigilance task (rPVT), which is an animal analog of the Psychomotor Vigilance Task (PVT) used to study ‘vigilance’ in humans and validated to detect cognitive deficits caused by a variety of factors in space flight (e.g., sleep loss, sleep shifts, motion sickness). The rPVT task consists of a subject continuously monitoring and indicating the location of a brief visual target that occurs randomly in time. The task simultaneously assesses reaction time, vigilance, and impulsivity. Once trained on this task, all animals were exported to BNL for head-only radiation exposure and then returned to Johns Hopkins for follow-up testing. Radiation exposure doses consisted of 0, 25, 50, 100, and 200 cGy (5 dose levels) for protons (150 MeV/n). The zero-dose level represents non-exposed control animals (i.e., shipped to BNL, sedated and restrained for radiation exposure, but not actually radiated). Exposures of these 80 animals occurred on October 29-30, and the animals returned to Johns Hopkins approximately 1 week later and are just resuming their post-exposure testing runs. Results will be forthcoming as their psychomotor vigilance performances are tracked over the next 12 months.

Results from this first year of the project demonstrated the feasibility of establishing a computer-based, automated training and testing facility for assessing cognitive and behavioral function in the rodent model. Additional results indicate that rodents are readily trainable on cognitive/behavioral tasks that are also employed as standards for assessing normal human cognitive/behavioral function, and that the analog of a human psychomotor vigilance task can be employed with rodents to automatically assess neurobehavioral function on a daily basis. These findings support the likely continued success of the rodent model for studying the cognitive, neurobehavioral, and CNS risks associated with living in the space radiation environment.

Bibliography Type: Description: (Last Updated: 01/12/2021) 

Show Cumulative Bibliography Listing
 
 None in FY 2010
Project Title:  Cognitive/Behavioral, Sensory, & Motor Changes Induced by Solar Particle Event (SPE) and Galactic Cosmic Ray (GCR) Irradiations Reduce
Fiscal Year: FY 2009 
Division: Human Research 
Research Discipline/Element:
HRP SR:Space Radiation
Start Date: 01/01/2009  
End Date: 12/31/2010  
Task Last Updated: 01/23/2009 
Download report in PDF pdf
Principal Investigator/Affiliation:   Hienz, Robert D. Ph.D. / The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine 
Address:  Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences 
5510 Nathan Shock Drive 
Baltimore , MD 21224-6823 
Email: bhienz@jhmi.edu 
Phone: 410-550-2788  
Congressional District:
Web:  
Organization Type: UNIVERSITY 
Organization Name: The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine 
Joint Agency:  
Comments:  
Co-Investigator(s)
Affiliation: 
Weed, Michael  Johns Hopkins University 
Project Information: Grant/Contract No. NNX09AC52G 
Responsible Center: NASA JSC 
Grant Monitor:  
Center Contact:   
Solicitation / Funding Source: 2008 Space Radiobiology NNJ08ZSA001N 
Grant/Contract No.: NNX09AC52G 
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) SR:Space Radiation
Human Research Program Risks: (1) CNS:Risk of Acute (In-flight) and Late Central Nervous System Effects from Radiation Exposure (IRP Rev G)
Human Research Program Gaps: (1) CNS01:What are significant adverse changes in CNS performance in the context and time scale of space flight operations? How is significance defined, and which neuropsychological domains are affected? Is there a significant probability that space radiation exposure would result in adverse changes? What are the pathways and mechanisms of change? (IRP Rev F)
Flight Assignment/Project Notes: NOTE: Received NCE through 12/31/2010, per J. Dardano/JSC; original end date was 12/31/2009 (9/2009)

Task Description: Assessing the biological consequences of living in the space radiation environment represents one of the highest priority areas of NASA research. Of critical importance is the need for an assessment of the vulnerabilities of the central nervous system (CNS) leading to functional neurobehavioral changes during long-term space missions, and the development of effective countermeasures to such risks. The present proposal addresses this need via the application of a comprehensive animal model to determine 1) the effects of radiation exposure on a range of neurobehavioral functions; and 2) the likely mechanisms of damage to the CNS following radiation exposure, (e.g., radiation-induced changes in neurotransmitter system function).

To assess the likelihood of space radiation producing immediate and/or long-term functional changes in the CNS, neurobehavioral functions will be measured in rodents via animal tests analogous to the human CANTAB neuropsychological test battery and to "vigilance" tests in humans. Human neurobehavioral functions relevant to astronaut mission performance effectiveness will include assessments of general motor function and speed, vigilance, inhibitory control ("impulsivity"), timing, motivation, and basic sensory function. Groups of animals will be separately trained on each of these tasks, following which they will be exposed to radiation and then immediately re-tested as well as re-tested periodically for up to 18 months post-exposure to assess potential long-term performance deficits. To determine likely mechanisms of damage to the CNS following radiation exposure, pre-radiation and post-radiation pharmacologic assessments of the integrity of the relevant neurotransmitter systems will be conducted, as well as autoradiographic analyses of the integrity of different neurotransmitter systems.

Research Impact/Earth Benefits: 0

Task Progress & Bibliography Information FY2009 
Task Progress: New project for FY2009.

Bibliography Type: Description: (Last Updated: 01/12/2021) 

Show Cumulative Bibliography Listing
 
 None in FY 2009