Cortical reorganization in an astronaut’s brain after long-duration spaceflight

Athena Demertzi, Angelique van Ombergen, Elena Tomilovskaya, Ben Jeurissen, Ekaterina Pechenkova, Carol Di Perri, Liudmila Litvinova, Enrico Amico, Alena Rumshiskaya, Ilya Rukavishnikov, Jan Sijbers, Valentin Sinitsyn, Inessa B. Kozlovskaya, Stefan Sunaert, Paul M. Parizel, Paul H. van de Heyning, Steven S L Laureys, Floris L. Wuyts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To date, hampered physiological function after exposure to microgravity has been primarily attributed to deprived peripheral neuro-sensory systems. For the first time, this study elucidates alterations in human brain function after long-duration spaceflight. More specifically, we found significant differences in resting-state functional connectivity between motor cortex and cerebellum, as well as changes within the default mode network. In addition, the cosmonaut showed changes in the supplementary motor areas during a motor imagery task. These results highlight the underlying neural basis for the observed physiological deconditioning due to spaceflight and are relevant for future interplanetary missions and vestibular patients.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBrain Structure and Function
Publication statusAccepted/In press - May 12 2015


  • Cortical reorganization
  • Functional MRI
  • Microgravity
  • Motor behavior
  • Vestibular cortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Anatomy
  • Histology


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