About The Project

The team's proposed research experiment is entitled, “Gravitational Effects on Cerebrospinal Fluid Pressure and Flow in an Anatomical Model,” and seeks to address Section C.6.7 “Microgravity Biomedical Counter-Measures for Long Duration Spaceflight” in NASA’s Critical Technology Determination (CTD) for Future Human Space Flight document. This section states that intracranial hypertension has the potential to have temporary and permanent health risks (p. 24). Using an anatomically representative model, the Boise State Microgravity Team seeks to better understand cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) movement and changes in intracranial pressure (ICP) in response to hyper- and microgravity in real time during parabolic flight. We propose to monitor these changes using pressure and flow sensors positioned throughout a proposed CSF flow apparatus. Results of our study could provide a preliminary explanation for some of the symptoms seen in extended spaceflight, as well as providing a foundation for future research in monitoring and treatment of increased ICP (Alexander, Gibson, and Hamilton).

Upon completion of this experiment, the Boise State Microgravity Research Team plans to reapply in the 2014-2015 academic year for another NASA Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunities Program. The anticipated year two experiment aims to address the Human Health/Mission Cost/Feasibility knowledge gap of the Near Earth Objects section in the Strategic Knowledge Gap (SKG) document related to space radiation health risks (International Space Exploration Coordination Group p. 13). This follow up experiment will use the methods created in year one to monitor pressure and fluid flow in response to hyper- and microgravity on both radiated and non-radiated choroid plexus epithelial cells by monitoring intercellular signaling.