This is a follow-up on a few similar questions of mine regarding effects of the loss of intracranial pressure gradient of astronauts that work in microgravity for extended periods of time, and how does that translate in their cardiovascular and ocular health, like for example How do astronauts battle loss in blood volume in microgravity and Has dependent one-carbon metabolic pathway been successfully linked to ocular health of astronauts.

In essence, I was wondering if there are any studies, or merely reports of change in frequency of intracranial pain, like plain headaches, migraines, inflammation of the paranasal sinuses, or throbbing, aching, or stabbing sensation in the eyes by astronauts? Do these complaints in general increase, or decrease in frequency when astronauts are exposed to microgravity environment for longer times, compared to the pre- and post-flight occurrence rate, when astronauts are presumably under similar, equivalent dietary regimen? If change in occurrence rate has been detected, what cause is it most attributed to?


1 Answer 1


Since you have no answer so far, here is the contribution of a non expert. This may not be of great help. It should be a comment, but more space is required.

Documentation relating to your interests:

Also The Headache of High Altitude and Microgravity—Similarities with Clinical Syndromes of Cerebral Venous Hypertension (Mark H. Wilson, Christopher H.E. Imray and Alan R. Hargens)

In this study:

There have been a number of reports recently of astronauts suffering headache and loss of peripheral vision.

The study also refers to:

Watenpaugh DE and Hargens AR. (1996). The Cardiovascular System in Microgravity. In Handbook of Physiology: Section4, Environmental Physiology. Fregly MJ, Blatteis CM, eds. Oxford University Press, New York. pp. 631–674.

Hu Z, Zhao G, Xiao Z, Chen X, Zhong C, and Yang J. (1999). Different responses of cerebral vessels to - 30 degrees headdown tilt in humans. Aviat Space Environ Med 70:674–680.

Iwase S and Mano T. (2000). [Microgravity and autonomic nervous system]. Nippon Rinsho 58:1604–1612.

  • $\begingroup$ This is helpful, thanks! Note the graph on page 11 of your first link. The unit doses administered for pharmaceutical use are highly irregular for headache and sleep, especially when compared to nausea (which would fall within the same pharmaceutical category as the so-called space sickness). I'll try to correlate this with other similar graphs once I find the time, but this does help. Cheers! $\endgroup$
    – TildalWave
    Dec 22, 2014 at 22:11
  • $\begingroup$ Very good. I've read years ago, but cannot retrieve this (maybe in Moondust), that several astronauts developed chronic sinusitis. I added a link in the answer. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Dec 22, 2014 at 22:25
  • $\begingroup$ I've read something along those lines too, and now can't find any of it. If you do, we have a question about snoring that also needs an answer. ;) $\endgroup$
    – TildalWave
    Dec 22, 2014 at 22:30
  • $\begingroup$ Are you looking for this paper - abstract at PubMed? $\endgroup$ Dec 22, 2014 at 22:34
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Snoring: I posted something earlier, but this is very incomplete. Two books (not about snoring): ISBN 978-3-642-22271-9, ISBN 978-1-4020-6769-3. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    Dec 22, 2014 at 22:41

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