12.5 C
New York
Tuesday, September 22, 2020
Home News Women may be immune to brain damage from cosmic rays, study finds

Women may be immune to brain damage from cosmic rays, study finds

All things considered, outer space is a pretty terrifying place. It’s utterly silent, unfathomably vast, and it experiences weather extremes that make Earth’s seem mild in comparison.

And then there’s the radiation. We’re pretty much protected from hazardous levels galactic cosmic rays (GCRs) by our planet’s magnetic field but, just past low orbit, high-energy protons and charged particles can cause serious health and cognition problems.

But new NASA-funded research out of the University of California, San Fransisco and Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York suggests that not everyone’s brain is impacted by cosmic rays. In fact, the brains of female astronauts may be completely immune. In a paper published earlier this month in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity, the researchers showed that female mice are immune to the cognitive damage that results from simulated space radiation. The study may pave the way toward treating this hazardous consequence of space travel.

“These results demonstrate that female mice are protected from the deleterious consequences of deep space exposure,” Susanna Rosi, a neuroscientist at UCSF and one of the study’s lead authors, told Digital Trends. “More in detail, we found that male mice develop a large range of cognitive deficits that are not present in females after exposure to galactic cosmic ray simulation.”

These cognitive deficits included changes in sociability, social memory, anxiety-like behaviors, and memory.

“When we look carefully in the brain we found fundamental differences between male and female,” Rosi said. Only male brains had an increase in inflammatory cells and a loss of neural synapses. “These results are compelling because they show fundamental sex differences.”

GCRs are not an immediate concern for today’s astronauts. The International Space Station is still within low-Earth orbit and no human has made it beyond the planet’s magnetic field since the Apollo missions. But with the way the new space race is shaping up, we may soon be headed back to the moon and Mars, where protection from cosmic rays is a top priority.

Rosi and her lab, including postdoctoral researcher and first author of the study, Karen Krukowski, have put forward the hypothesis that inflammatory cells called microglia account for the disparity between female and male mice by protecting female but not male brains. However, it’s unclear if or why this is the case.

The researchers note that this is just the beginning of what is likely to be a long investigation into safety measures for future space missions. They will continue to test more complex combinations of simulated space radiation and research ways to modify microglia to potentially treat these cognitive deficits.

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Get your Sagan on with 60 awe-inspiring photos of the final frontier
  • NASA wants help coming up with ways to get rid of astronauts’ space trash
  • NASA (again) delays launch of the world’s most powerful telescope
  • The world’s biggest plane now has some rockets to launch
  • Mars is as near to Earth as it’s been in 15 years, so Hubble took some photos



Latest

Jailed hacker insists he doesn’t want to see a computer ever again

A British hacker who was part of The Dark Overlord group has been handed a prison term for his offenses.

Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S preorders now available

Get your wallets ready because they'll sell out fast no matter where you are.Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S

POCO X3 with Snapdragon 732G chipset launched in India for ₹16,999 ($231)

The POCO X3 made its global debut earlier this month.What you need to knowPOCO X3 is now official in India.The

VIP SALE! Final day to get extra savings on products and services

We’re in the final day of our VIP Sale which sees us discounting products, services, and other items at a much bigger rate than usual. Indeed, you can visit the AG Deals Store any day of the week and find great prices on all sorts of great things.You’ve got until midnight tonight (September 21) to take advantage of an extra 20% off physical items. Moreover, we’re dropping the prices of online courses by an additional 60%.VIP SALESave an extra 60% on these online training coursesSave an extra 40% on apps and softwareUse this promo code to save an extra 20% in our storeCheck our coverage from the last few days to see highlights of the most popular options from each category. Below, we’ll also outline some of the best sellers from the AG Deals Store.Dragon X5 Wireless Bluetooth Mobile Phone Gaming Controller – $32By simply pairing this gamepad to your phone, tablet, smart TV, consoles, and other Bluetooth-enabled devices, you can now enjoy up to 10 hours of immersive, wireless game control. This gamepad features analog, turbo acceleration, and multimedia functions for total playing experience.Gotek Wireless Charging Music Station – $37.60Gotek Music Station is capable of both streaming music and charging your Qi-enabled smartphone wirelessly. Carefully designed with creative elements such as a big glossy LED display with 3 levels of lightness, the built-in FM radio and alarm will let you enjoy the versatile functions beside your bed, on your desk, or working place. You can easily charge the speaker via Type-C port, or use its own battery which could support 8 hours of working time when you play music.Zone 47″ Wide PC Gamer Computer Desk – $200The Zone 47″ Wide PC Gamer Computer Desk by Offex features a large 47″W x 23.75″ deep gaming surface with a simulated carbon fiber finish and a beveled front cut out that keeps you closer to the monitor without sacrificing room for your accessories. It also provides gamer specific features: a cup holder and headphone hook that saves desktop space, a power console with 3 grounded outlet receptors and 2 USB charging ports, and a cord management hole with cover for organizing your electrical cords.The Ultimate Data & Project Management Certification Bundle – $16Make project delivery and data analysis more efficient with 49 hours of guided content on Java, SAS, SQL, Power BI, Jira, Agile, and more. Spread over ten courses, you’ll have more than 650 lessons at your fingertips.The Complete Python eBook & Video Course Bundle – $12Start your programming career and sharpen your skills with 17 hours of video content and five eBooks on Python, AI, Deep Learning, and more.The Complete Microsoft Azure eBook & Video Course Bundle – $12Lead your business towards success with 15+ hours of video content and six eBooks on Azure Cloud Solutions, Integration, Networks, and more.