Space Headaches (Space Headaches) - 02.03.17
Headaches can be a common complaint during spaceflight. The Space Headaches experiment improves our understanding of such conditions, which helps in the development of methods to alleviate associated symptoms, and improve the well-being and performance of crew members in orbit. This can also improve our knowledge of similar conditions on Earth. Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending Experiment Details
OpNom: Space Headaches
A. Vein, Department of Neurology, Leiden, Netherlands
M. D. Ferrari, Department of Neurology, Leiden, Netherlands
G. M. Terwindt, Department of Neurology, Leiden, Netherlands
Sponsoring Space Agency
European Space Agency (ESA)
ISS Expedition Duration
September 2011 - March 2016; March 2016 - February 2017; March 2017 - September 2017; -
It is hypothesized that headaches in microgravity represent a separate entity among the secondary headaches attributed to disorders of homeostasis. Space Headaches aims to:
• Obtain retrospective post-flight data to allow the evaluation of headache episodes in crew members that have participated in space missions during the past 15 years.
• Assess the incidence of headache episodes in current crew members.
• Analyze headache characteristics and classify headaches according to the International Classification of Headache Disorders.
• Provide the basis for developing future countermeasures for headaches during space flight in order to minimize complaints and optimize the crew member's working ability and the living conditions.
Headaches during space flight can negatively affect mental and physical capacities of crew members which can influence performance during a space mission. Data from this experiment improve our understanding of such conditions, providing a stepping stone to development of countermeasures to alleviate associated symptoms, thus improving the well-being of our crew members in orbit, and in turn improving astronaut performance.
Headaches are also common on Earth, either as an isolated condition or as one symptom of another medical condition. Improving the knowledge we gather in space of the nature and occurrence of headaches could also provide an insight to associated conditions on Earth.
Operational Requirements and Protocols
• Crew members are required to complete a questionnaire any time within six month prior to launch.
• Crew members complete questionnaires daily during the first week starting from launch.
• Following the first week, crew members complete questionnaires every 7 +/- 2 days (preferably towards the end of the week).
• In case of sleep shift, no change to the schedule shall be applied.
Decadal Survey Recommendations
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BBC News--Space Headache a Real Phenomenon
National Geographic News--“Space Headache” a New Type of Astronaut Affliction?