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Microgravity Means More Headaches In Space

Headaches experienced by astronauts in space mostly occur during the first couple of weeks of their mission, a new study finds.

Research in the expanding field of space medicine* has identified many ways in which a microgravity* environment and other factors can meddle with the human body during space missions. A new study has added to the field by showing that astronauts are more likely to experience headaches in space than previously known.

The study involved 24 astronauts from the U.S., European and Japanese space agencies who travelled aboard the International Space Station for up to 26 weeks. All but two of them reported experiencing headaches in space. This was a larger proportion than the researchers had expected based on prior anecdotal evidence*. The headaches – some resembling migraines and others resembling tension headaches* – occurred not only during the first couple of weeks in space as the body goes through the process of adapting to microgravity, but also later.

The headaches occurring during the early period often present as migraine-like while those experienced later in space travel present more like a tension headache, the study found.


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