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Neural Working Memory Changes During a Spaceflight Analog With Elevated Carbon Dioxide: A Pilot Study

Salazar, Ana Paula and Hupfeld, Kathleen E. and Lee, Jessica K. and Beltran, Nichole E. and Kofman, Igor S. and De Dios, Yiri E. and Mulder, Edwin and Bloomberg, Jacob J. and Mulavara, Ajitkumar P. and Seidler, Rachael D. (2020) Neural Working Memory Changes During a Spaceflight Analog With Elevated Carbon Dioxide: A Pilot Study. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, 14, p. 48. Frontiers Media S.A.. doi: 10.3389/fnsys.2020.00048. ISSN 1662-5137.

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Official URL: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fnsys.2020.00048/full


Spaceflight missions to the International Space Station (ISS) expose astronauts to microgravity, radiation, isolation, and elevated carbon dioxide (CO₂), among other factors. Head down tilt bed rest (HDBR) is an Earth-based analog for spaceflight used to study body unloading, fluid shifts, and other factors unrelated to gravitational changes. While in space, astronauts need to use mental rotation strategies to facilitate their adaptation to the ISS environment. Therefore, spatial working memory is essential for crewmember performance. Although the effects of HDBR on spatial working memory have recently been studied, the results are still inconclusive. Here, we expand upon past work and examine the effects of HDBR with elevated CO₂ (HDBR + CO₂) on brain activation patterns during spatial working memory performance. In addition, we compare brain activation between 30 days of HDBR + CO₂ and 70 days of HDBR to test the isolated effect of CO₂. Eleven subjects (6 males, 5 females; mean age = 34 ± 8 years) underwent six functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) sessions pre-, during, and post-HDBR + CO₂. During the HDBR + CO₂ intervention, we observed decreasing activation in the right middle frontal gyrus and left regions of the cerebellum, followed by post-intervention recovery. We detected several correlations between brain and behavioral slopes of change with the HDBR + CO₂ intervention. For example, greater increases in activation in frontal, temporal and parietal regions were associated with larger spatial working memory improvements. Comparing the HDBR + CO₂ group to data from our previous 70-day HDBR study, we found greater decreases in activation in the right hippocampus and left inferior temporal gyrus for the HDBR + CO₂ group over the course of the intervention. Together, these findings increase our understanding of the neural mechanisms of HDBR, elevated levels of CO₂ and spaceflight-related changes in spatial working memory performance.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/135976/
Document Type:Article
Title:Neural Working Memory Changes During a Spaceflight Analog With Elevated Carbon Dioxide: A Pilot Study
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iD
Salazar, Ana PaulaDepartment of Applied Physiology and Kinesiology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, United StatesUNSPECIFIED
Hupfeld, Kathleen E.Department of Applied Physiology and Kinesiology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32608, USAhttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-5086-4841
Lee, Jessica K.German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt), 51147 Cologne, GermanyUNSPECIFIED
Beltran, Nichole E.KBR, Houston, TX 77002, USAUNSPECIFIED
Kofman, Igor S.KBR, Houston, TX, United StatesUNSPECIFIED
De Dios, Yiri E.KBR, Houston, TX 77002, USAUNSPECIFIED
Mulder, EdwinEdwin.Mulder (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Bloomberg, Jacob J.NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX, United StatesUNSPECIFIED
Mulavara, Ajitkumar P.KBR, Houston, TX 77002, USAUNSPECIFIED
Seidler, Rachael D.Department of Applied Physiology and Kinesiology, College of Health and Human Performance, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, United StatesUNSPECIFIED
Date:28 July 2020
Journal or Publication Title:Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Page Range:p. 48
Publisher:Frontiers Media S.A.
Keywords:cognition, spatial working memory, carbon dioxide, head down tilt bed rest, microgravity
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Research under Space Conditions
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R FR - Research under Space Conditions
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Vorhaben Systemphysiologie (old)
Location: Köln-Porz
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Aerospace Medicine > Muscle and Bone Metabolism
Deposited By: Arndt, Carina
Deposited On:08 Sep 2020 13:37
Last Modified:30 Sep 2020 10:24

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