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Project Title:  Microgravity Induced Visual Alterations and Intracranial Pressure (Postdoctoral Fellowship) Reduce
Fiscal Year: FY 2014 
Division: Human Research 
Research Discipline/Element:
Start Date: 10/01/2013  
End Date: 09/20/2015  
Task Last Updated: 04/04/2014 
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Principal Investigator/Affiliation:   Lawley, Justin  Ph.D. / The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas 
Address:  Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine 
7232 Greenville Avenue, Suite 435 
Dallas , TX 75231-5129 
Phone: 214-345-4729  
Congressional District:
Organization Type: UNIVERSITY 
Organization Name: The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas 
Joint Agency:  
Levine, Benjamin  M.D. MENTOR/ University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas 
Project Information: Grant/Contract No. NCC 9-58-PF03501 
Responsible Center: NSBRI 
Grant Monitor:  
Center Contact:   
Solicitation / Funding Source: 2013 NSBRI-RFA-13-01 Postdoctoral Fellowships 
Grant/Contract No.: NCC 9-58-PF03501 
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: None
Human Research Program Risks: None
Human Research Program Gaps: None

Humans have been travelling in space for more than 40 years without clear evidence of visual impairment in astronauts. However very recently, it has been identified that some astronauts on the International Space Station seem to be at risk for visual changes that may be due to elevated pressure inside the head (intracranial pressure). It is well known that there is a relative shift in fluid towards the head in humans during space flight (microgravity) and therefore these changes may increase intracranial pressure to a greater degree than previously appreciated. Intracranial pressure may also be exacerbated or transiently elevated by small increases in the partial pressure of carbon dioxide in the International Space Station atmosphere and during strength training exercise that is employed to try and maintain astronaut’s muscle mass. Therefore, the primary aim of this project will be to provide novel data about the impact of microgravity induced central fluid shifts on directly measured intracranial pressure, and the associated inflow and outflow of blood to the brain, accompanied by simultaneous assessment of structural changes in the eye. Furthermore, we will examine the above factors during small changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide and during strength training exercise in microgravity. This information is entirely unknown and absolutely essential to establishing the pathophysiology of the recently identified visual impairments in some long duration astronauts, so as to develop appropriate countermeasures.

Research Impact/Earth Benefits: This project will have implications for public health and will provide a better understanding of the regulation of intracranial pressure in normal healthy individuals and thus will offer an improved knowledge base to provide effective treatments for a wide range of intracranial disorders.

Task Progress & Bibliography Information FY2014 
Task Progress: New project for FY2014.

Bibliography Type: Description: (Last Updated: 04/09/2019) 

Show Cumulative Bibliography Listing
Articles in Peer-reviewed Journals Petersen LG, Lawley JS, Lilja-Cyron A, Petersen JC, Howden EJ, Sarma S, Cornwell WK 3rd, Zhang R, Whitworth LA, Williams MA, Juhler M, Levine BD. "Lower body negative pressure to safely reduce intracranial pressure." J Physiol. 2019 Jan;597(1):237-48. Epub 2018 Nov 20. ; PubMed PMID: 30286250; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6312426 , Jan-2019
Articles in Peer-reviewed Journals Lawley JS, Levine BD, Williams MA, Malm J, Eklund A, Polaner DM, Subudhi AW, Hackett PH, Roach RC. "Cerebral spinal fluid dynamics: Effect of hypoxia and implications for high-altitude illness." J Appl Physiol (1985). 2016 Jan 15;120(2):251-62. Review. Epub 2015 Oct 22. ; PubMed PMID: 26494441 , Jan-2016