Effects of head-only or whole-body exposure to very low doses of 4He (1000 MeV/n) particles on neuronal function and cognitive performance.


Department of Psychology, UMBC, Baltimore, MD 21250, United States. Electronic address: [Email]


On exploratory class missions, astronauts will be exposed to a range of heavy particles which vary in linear energy transfer (LET). Previous research has shown a direct relationship between particle LET and cognitive performance such that, as particle LET decreases the dose needed to affect cognitive performance also decreases. Because a significant portion of the total dose experienced by astronauts may be expected to come from exposure to low LET 4He particles, it would be important to establish the threshold dose of 4He particles that can produce changes in cognitive performance. The results indicated that changes in neuronal function and cognitive performance could be observed following both head-only and whole-body exposures to 4He particles at doses as low as 0.01-0.025 cGy. These results, therefore, suggest the possibility that astronauts on exploratory class missions may be at a greater risk for HZE-induced deficits than previously anticipated.


Behavior,Neuroinflamation,Oxidative stress,

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