Alexander presented data from an interesting study on a model of ICP in astronauts subjected to microgravity. The study was initiated by post.doc Lonnie Petersen (Dept. of Biomedical Sciences, University of Copenhagen) and carried out at the Dept. of Neurosurgery at Rigshospitalet.
The collaboration was a result of concerns raised by NASA regarding the health of their astronauts during long-duration spaceflight. The Visual Impairment/Intracranial Pressure (VIIP) syndrome seen in astronauts exposed to prolonged zero-gravity during spaceflight may be caused by body fluid redistribution.
VIIP is a condition that resembles idiopathic intracranial hypertension with characteristics including decreased visual field, papilledema, and increased optic nerve sheath diameter.
By applying negative pressure to the lower body the results showed that ICP could be lowered. This might translate into prevention of VIIP for astronauts if this technique can be applied during upcoming long-duration spaceflights.