Gravitational Effects on Cerebrospinal Fluid Pressure and Flow in an Anatomical Model

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Student Presentation

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Faculty Sponsor

Elisa Barney Smith


The Boise State University Microgravity Research Team, “Gravitational Effects on Cerebrospinal Fluid Pressure and Flow in an Anatomical Model,” seeks to address Section C.6.7 “Microgravity Biomedical Counter-Measures for Long Duration Spaceflight” in NASA’s Critical Technology Determination (CTD) for Future Human Space Flight document. This section states that intracranial hypertension has the potential to have temporary and permanent health risks. Based on this, an experiment was designed to provide a foundation of information on cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) movement inside the cranium. Using an anatomically representative model, this team seeks to better understand CSF movement and changes in intracranial pressure (ICP) in response to hyper- and microgravity in real time during parabolic flight. We propose to monitor these changes using pressure and flow sensors positioned throughout our “CSF Flow Apparatus,” allowing us to collect data at multiple locations. Results of our study could provide a preliminary explanation for some of the symptoms seen in extended spaceflight, as well as providing a foundation for future research in monitoring and treatment of increased ICP.

Besides designing an experiment, for NASA's Microgravity University Program, The Boise State University Microgravity Research Team is hosting numerous community outreach events. Of these events, one will be Mini-Microgravity Challenge offered to a Fifth grade class at Mountain View Elementary School in Boise, ID. Students will be given the opportunity to develop their own Mar's Rover using a "blown out egg." They will create an appropriate hypothesis, drawing or model, and be given an opportunity to test their project.

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