Study: Prolonged Exposure to Galactic Radiation Speeds Up Alzheimer's Development
January 1, 2013 7:11 PM
comment(s) - last by
Radiation called high-mass, high-charged particles (HZE) are capable of penetrating a spacecraft and causing the early onset of Alzheimer's disease
A new study shows that extended
exposure to cosmic radiation
in space can negatively affect astronauts' brains.
A team of researchers from the University of Rochester Medical Center, led by M. Kerry O'Banion, found that a specific type of radiation called high-mass, high-charged particles (HZE) are capable of penetrating a spacecraft and causing the early onset of Alzheimer's disease.
NASA and other researchers have studied the effects of long-term space travel on astronauts for years, and found that
galactic cosmic radiation
caused cancer, musculoskeletal and cardiovascular diseases. However, this is the first study to show effects on the brain in regards to neurodegeneration.
HZE particles are propelled through space at very high speeds thanks to exploding stars, and come in a variety of forms. In this particular study, the researchers looked at iron particles because they, like HZE particles, have a mass and speed that allow them to enter solid objects.
The researchers then used particle accelerators to reproduce radioactive particles located in space. From there, animal models with Alzheimer's disease were exposed to different doses of the radiation. They even used levels comparable to a
mission to Mars
According to the results, the brains of the mice exposed to the radiation had vascular alterations and an abnormal accumulation of beta amyloid, which is a sign of Alzheimer's disease.
Also, the mice exposed to radiation were more likely to fail memory tests more often and earlier than mice who were not.
"Galactic cosmic radiation poses a significant threat to future astronauts," said O'Banion. "The possibility that radiation exposure in space may give rise to health problems such as cancer has long been recognized. However, this study shows for the first time that exposure to radiation levels equivalent to a mission to Mars could produce cognitive problems and speed up changes in the brain that are associated with Alzheimer's disease."
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RE: Simulated Animals?
1/2/2013 10:09:41 AM
with Alzheimer's disease
The question is what they hoped to find when they eventually killed and dissected the poor things? If they had Alzheimer's before being irradiated, why do the test?
As far as I can tell the outcome of this experiment was entirely predictable.
Or maybe the meaning of it was the next generation of "the right stuff" will come from rest homes.
RE: Simulated Animals?
1/4/2013 10:54:48 AM
It's easier to use a mouse that already has Alzheimer and test on it to see how it is affected by the radiation than picking a healthy mouse and hope he will develop Alzheimer (or something else) at some point, this is cause the process to develop Alzheimer is still not yet fully known.
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