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Astronauts may be prone to Alzheimer’s

health-and-fitness Updated: Jan 02, 2013 01:24 IST

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Space travel may harm the brain in astronauts as exposure to galactic cosmic radiation could trigger Alzheimer’s, a new study has claimed.

The race for space tourism may be hotting up, but the practicalities of intergalactic travel have hit a new obstacle as research for the first time showed that radiation exposure in space can lead to cognitive problems.

The earth’s magnetic field generally protects the planet and people in low earth orbit from cosmic radiation, but once astronauts leave the orbit they are exposed to constant shower of various radioactive particles.

“Galactic cosmic radiation poses a significant threat to future astronauts. The possibility that radiation exposure in space may give rise to health problems such as cancer has long been recognised,” senior author of the study, professor Kerry O’Banion from the University of Rochester Medical Centre (URMC) Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy said.