it may do, but there was no control group, & all the reported brain changes could have occurred up to 18 months before the astronauts went into space. perhaps intensive astronaut training programmes increases brain size?  

original article: Kramer et al., 2020 (Radiology), reported in: The Daily Express by Sean Martin on 17th April 2020

this story was in episode 0 #space #astronaut #brain #volume

the error bar says

The Express reports a study from the journal Radiology, in which 11 astronauts' brains were measured before and after going into space.

Kramer and colleagues found that the astronauts' brains increased in volume by 27ml – a single measure of whisky (other spirits are available) - and that this increase remained for at least a year after space flight.

first: many congratulations for this work, it's obviously very difficult to study astronauts!

does space flight swell the brain?

1. there was no control group. None. So, it could be ageing, changes in the scanner...

2. the first scan was done, on average, 18 months preflight, while all the remaining scans were done between 3 days and 1 year after returning. space flight itself was an average of about 6 months. so, on average, there was 2 years between the first and second brain scans, but only one year between the 2nd and 6th.

3. ALL the differences are between post‐flight and pre‐flight. so, another way to frame this story is: Preparing for space flight expands your brain!

4. the error bars in figure 4 do not match the error bars in Table 2. tut tut.

5. the scientists themselves said that the changes were a bit like those when you lie down.




The Daily Express: fair - scientific story mostly intact