Intrinsic functional connectivity reduces after first-time exposure to short-term gravitational alterations induced by parabolic flight

Condensed Matter journal club

Intrinsic functional connectivity reduces after first-time exposure to short-term gravitational alterations induced by parabolic flight

  • Event time: 11:30am until 12:30pm
  • Event date: 10th November 2017
  • Speaker: (School of Physics & Astronomy, University of Edinburgh)
  • Location: 2511

Event details

Spaceflight severely impacts the human body. However, little is known about how gravity and

gravitational alterations affect the human brain. Here, we aimed at measuring the effects of acute

exposure to gravity transitions. We exposed 28 naïve participants to repetitive alterations between

normal, hyper- and microgravity induced by a parabolic flight (PF) and measured functional MRI

connectivity changes. Scans were acquired before and after the PF. To mitigate motion sickness,

PF participants received scopolamine prior to PF. To account for the scopolamine effects, 12 non-PF

controls were scanned prior to and after scopolamine injection. Changes in functional connectivity

were explored with the Intrinsic Connectivity Contrast (ICC). Seed-based analysis on the regions

exhibiting localized changes was subsequently performed to understand the networks associated

with the identified nodes. We found that the PF group was characterized by lower ICC scores in the

right temporo-parietal junction (rTPJ), an area involved in multisensory integration and spatial

tasks. The encompassed network revealed PF-related decreases in within- and inter-hemispheric

anticorrelations between the rTPJ and the supramarginal gyri, indicating both altered vestibular and

self-related functions. Our findings shed light on how the brain copes with gravity transitions, on gravity

internalization and are relevant for the understanding of bodily self-consciousness.

Event resources

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Given the diversity of research in the CM group, chosen topics vary widely. We tend to stick to high-impact journals - Nature, Science, PNAS and PRL have been popular - but this is not prescriptive..

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