Russian, US Scientists Spar Over Causes of ISS Astronauts’ Headache, Report Says

MOSCOW (Sputnik) – US astronauts on board the International Space Station have been complaining of headache, with Russian and US scientists divided on whether an increased concentration of carbon dioxide in the station’s atmosphere is the reason, according to a fresh report by Russia’s Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Centre released on Monday.

Though the level of CO2 has since been gradually reduced as requested by the US side, astronauts continue to complain of headaches, with the current concentration at less than 3 millimeters of mercury, the report said.

In 2014, NASA released an article based on a detailed study of the link between CO2 levels in the ISS atmosphere and astronauts’ headaches. When only Russia’s CO2 removal system operated at the station, as the US’ one was turned off, the CO2 concentration increased up to 6.2 millimeters of mercury column and astronauts were feeling irritability and fatigue, NASA said.

Russian specialists have refuted the link, saying that Russian and foreign cosmonauts flying to the ISS over the past 30 years had not complained of headaches, with an average CO2 level in the atmosphere of the stations of about 6 millimeters of mercury. Among possible causes of such headaches, they listed the impact of weightlessness, associated with a rush of blood to the head, as well as the fact that astronauts breathed in the exhaled air with increased content of CO2.


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