The research encompasses the following specific aims:
State-of -the-art quantitative structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (both resting-state and activated), diffusion tensor imaging, and arterial spin labeled fMRI will be performed in crewmembers and controls 4 months before, immediately after, and 6 months after the mission. During the mission, crewmembers will wear a wrist-watch like device that measures movement activity and proximity to other devices 24/7 to investigate sleep-wake behavior and crew cohesion. Once monthly, subjects will perform the Cognition test battery to quantify changes in cognitive performance. Cognition was specifically designed for high-aptitude astronauts and astronaut surrogates. It consists of 10 brief, validated neuropsychological tests that cover a wide range of cognitive domains. A 24-hour, two-electrode ECG will be performed monthly to investigate systematic changes in heart rate, heart rate variability, objectively assessed workload and sleep fragmentation with time-in-mission. Behavioral alertness will be assessed with a 3 minute Psychomotor Vigilance Test (PVT) on a weekly basis along with brief surveys to assess subjective ratings of mood, workload, stress, sleep quality, tiredness, sickness, and conflicts among crewmembers. The results will be compared with findings from Mars520 and the International Space Station (ISS), as many of the variables to be gathered overlap with those successfully obtained by the team in these and other space analog environments. After this project investigators expect to have a much better understanding whether, to what extent, and for how long neurostructural and neurofunctional changes are induced in subjects over-wintering in the isolated and confined space analog environment of Concordia station.
This study is in progress.
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