University of Waterloo to focus on effect of space travel on the brain

A University of Waterloo sign. Ahmad Fareed Khan / Global News

The Canadian Space Agency announced Monday that it was awarding grants aimed at studying the effects of space travel on the human body to nine universities across the country, including the University of Waterloo.

It says three of the schools will be mining data that has previously been collected from the International Space Station, including the team from the University of Waterloo.

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The team at Waterloo, which is being led by Dr. Richard Hughson will conduct a study that will focus on how blood vessels in the brain soften pulses from the heart.

They will also look at whether the exercises that astronauts do aboard the space station protect their brains.

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The Canadian Space Agency is hoping the $70,000 study will provide better protection for astronauts during future missions.

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Another of the data mining studies will be conducted at the University of Calgary, which will study bone loss in space, while a third at the University of Laval will look at how brain health is affected by spaceflight.

The other six grants were awarded to studies that will look at yeast, rodents and tissue samples that have been exposed to space.

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