"We think this is actually, potentially, a reflection of how the brain and the body are affecting to this bed rest environment," she said. "If you imagine reduced sensory input, one way the brain responds to turn up the volume, if you will. That's what we think is happening."
A flight study on the International Space Station is also ongoing, called Neuromapping, and the researchers are about halfway through the data collection. Seidler said the researchers expect that any changes in the brain would be "longer-lasting and more profound" than what is seen in bed rest, since the environment is more foreign. But that remains to be seen.
NASA has many human research investigations currently ongoing on the space station.
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Another test studies astronauts' and cosmonauts' balance through simple walking and moving exercises in Kazakhstan, just minutes after they land. Data collection is ongoing, said principal investigator Jacob Bloomberg, a senior research scientist at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Texas.
The hope is that, in the future, astronauts' brains could be trained in space via a few techniques to trick them into thinking they're in a gravity environment, thereby making the transition from space to Mars quicker and less risky. Bloomberg suggests that perhaps a treadmill, like the one in operation on the space station (pictured here), can be equipped with a range of programs could be used to create a "different combination of sensory disturbances," thereby tricking the brain into thinking it's in a gravitational environment.