Are space travelers brains really expanding?


This contemporary study suggests that the space travelers who returned from their long trip in space. The mass and volume of their brain has changed due to the effects of microgravity. So are space travelers brains really expanding?

Larry Kramer, a professor and lead author of the study published in the journal Radiology this weeksaid in a statement. “When you’re in microgravity, fluid such as your venous blood no longer pools toward your lower extremities but redistributes head-ward”. He added that this might be the reason of the changes. For that reason, they observed such differences in eye and intracranial compartment.


A comparison was held to see the variance of the MRI scans of 10 male and 1 female astronauts before and after travelling to ISS. Turns out that microgravity indeed does effect the brain mass and volume alongside with cerebrospinal fluid. This is a clear liquid that acts as a a buffer for brain. The researchers also recorded that these effects continued for the whole year, post-flight.

Pituitary gland, an essential gland for human body. Because the hormones it produces control so many different functions. Researchers further found that microgravity also affects this “master gland”. They stated that it losses its height and reduces post-flight than pre-flight.

Although, the mutilations and the soreness of brain sound dangerous. The changes in volume were comparable to the patients who spent long periods in bed.


Scientists and medical professionals have not yet fully understood these effects of microgravity on our space travelers. A similar phenomenon called “normal pressure hydrocephalus”. NPH is a condition that is caused by an abnormal build up of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the ventricles (cavities or spaces) of the brain. This causes the ventricles to enlarge. As a result, it causes difficulty in walking, bladder problems and dementia. So far, these are not observed in astronauts.

MRI scan of brain
MRI scan

Considering everything, we should not stop seeking the methods and the clarification needed to deal with this problem. Scientists are considering to make special suits. In order to control the flow of blood. Or applying the centrifuge law to make artificial gravity in space.