Noninvasive Brain Stimulation & Space Exploration

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Noninvasive Brain Stimulation & Space Exploration: Opportunities and Challenges.

As NASA prepares for longer space missions aiming for the Moon and Mars, astronauts’ health and performance are becoming a central concern due to the threats associated with galactic cosmic radiation, unnatural gravity fields, and life in extreme environments. In space, the human brain undergoes functional and structural changes related to fluid shift and intracranial pressure. Behavioral abnormalities, such as cognitive deficits, sleep disruption, and visuomotor difficulties, as well as psychological effects, are also a concern. We discuss opportunities and challenges of noninvasive brain stimulation (NiBS) methods – including transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial electrical stimulation (tES) – to support space exploration in several ways. NiBS includes safe and portable techniques already applied in a wide range of cognitive and motor domains, as well as therapeutically. NiBS could be used to enhance in-flight performance, supporting astronauts during pre-flight Earth-based training, as well as to identify biomarkers of post-flight brain changes for optimization of rehabilitation/compensatory strategies. We review these NiBS techniques and their effects on brain physiology, psychology, and cognition.

PMID: 32937115 [PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2020 Sep 13;:

Authors: Romanella S, Sprugnoli G, Ruffini G, Seyedmadani K, Rossi S, Santarnecchi E