Brain-DTI (Brain-DTI) - 06.20.18

Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
Researchers suspect that astronauts’ brains adapt to living in weightlessness by using previously untapped links between neurons. As the astronauts learn to navigate inside their spacecraft, left–right and up–down become second nature as these connections are activated. The Brain-DTI investigation seeks to confirm this theory by putting crew members through advanced MRI scanners before and after their spaceflight, to study any changes in their brain structure. A control group on ground undergoes the same scans for further comparison.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by J. Ngo-Ahn, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Information provided courtesy of the Erasmus Experiment Archive.
Experiment Details


Principal Investigator(s)
Floris L. Wuyts, Ph.D., University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium

Jan Sijbers, Dr., Vision Lab, University of Antwerp, Wilrijk, Belgium
Wim Van Hecke, Dr., IcoMetrix, Leuven, Belgium
Paul Parizel, Dr., Dept of Radiology, University Hospital Belgium, Edegem, Belgium
Annemie Van der Linden, Dr., Bio-Imaging Lab, University of Antwerp, Wilrijk, Belgium
Paul Van de Heyning, Ph.D., M.D., Dept of ENT, University Hospital Belgium, Edegem, Belgium
Steven Laureys, Dr., University of Liège, Cyclotron Research Center, Liege, Belgium
Stefan Sunaert, Department of Imaging & Pathology, University of Leuven (KU Leuven), Leuven, Belgium
Guy Cheron, • Biomechanics Faculty of Movement Science, Université Libre de Bruxelles, , Brussels, Belgium
Inessa Koslovskaya, Dr., Institute of Biomedical Problems (IBMP), Laboratory of gravitation physiology and sensory motor system., Moscow, Russia
Elena Tomilovskaya, Dr., Institute of Biomedical Problems (IBMP), Laboratory of gravitation physiology and sensory motor system, Moscow, Russia
Gilles Clément, Ph.D., Lyon Neuroscience Research Center, Lyon, France

European Space Agency (ESA), Noordwijk, Netherlands

Sponsoring Space Agency
European Space Agency (ESA)

Sponsoring Organization
Information Pending

Research Benefits
Scientific Discovery, Space Exploration

ISS Expedition Duration
March 2015 - March 2016; March 2016 - September 2017; February 2018 - August 2018

Expeditions Assigned

Previous Missions
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Experiment Description

Research Overview
The general hypothesis of this study is that long duration microgravity induces neuroplasticity (human central nervous system adaptation) in different regions of interest (ROI) that are involved in the integration of neuro-sensory information, provided by the vestibular organs, vision, and other receptors in the body. By means of advanced MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) methods DTI (diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging), DKI (Diffusion Kurtosis Imaging), HARDI (High Angular Resolution Diffusion Imaging), and rfMRI (resting state functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging), it is hypothesized that biomarkers for space flight induced neuroplasticity can be identified when images of the same crew member, acquired before and after 6 months of space flight, are compared with each other. Consequently this allows for the identification and verification of specific regions of interest (ROI) and fiber tracts that are expected to be involved in neuro-vestibular and vestibulo-autonomic processes.

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Space Applications
Information Pending

Earth Applications
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Operational Requirements and Protocols
• Pre-flight: Two sessions between L-90 days and L-45 days.
o The different MRI sequences (anatomical T1; Diffusion MRI with DTI, DKI and HARDI; resting state and other fMRI) is run automatically with a break in between for the subject to relax.
• In-flight: # of sessions N/A
• Post-flight: 3 sessions R+5 days, R+10 days, R+45 days, and R+180 days;
o Same MRI sessions as for pre-flight BDC. In addition, a questionnaire is filled in (clinical parameters about general health of the subjects – Dizziness Handicap Inventory).

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

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Results/More Information

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Results Publications

    Demertzi A, Van Ombergen A, Tomilovskaya ES, Jeurissen B, Pechenkova E, Di Perri C, Litvinova L, Amico E, Rumshiskaya A, Rukavishnikov I, Sijbers J, Sinitsyn V, Kozlovskaya IB, Sunaert S, Parizel PM, Van de Heyning PH, Laureys SS, Wuyts FL.  Cortical reorganization in an astronaut's brain after long-duration spaceflight. Brain Structure and Function. 2015; epub. DOI: 10.1007/s00429-015-1054-3. PMID: 25963710.

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Ground Based Results Publications

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ISS Patents

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Related Publications

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Related Websites

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