“EEG in human spaceflight research: A short review"
Once the International Space Station was permanently crewed, it has become the de facto academy of human spaceflight research. Since then, EEG has been utilized by several space agencies on more than 22 ISS Expeditions for research related to brain cognition under conditions of weightlessness, and for specific phenomena associated with space radiation, called phosphenes or light flashes. There are currently at least two EEG systems with novel dry electrodes for spaceflight usage on the Russian segment of the ISS, and on the new Chinese space Station TIANHE that was launched in 2021.
The literature reports very few problems in regards to quality of these EEG data when recorded under the condition of microgravity. There were historical instrumental difficulties attributed to calibration cables and data tape recorders during SKYLAB missions, both of which were resolved with minimal data corruption. Another notable observation is that results pertaining to neurophysiological effects from some ISS experiments performed a decade prior have not been published so far.
In summary, at least 40 astronauts and cosmonauts have been involved in a multitude of inflight EEG studies, three of them women. Over the past 60 years, several hundred hours of EEG data were recorded in microgravity and no major data quality issues were ever reported. There is a critical need and scientific opportunity for more neurophysiological brain research in the light of future crewed expeditions to celestial bodies beyond lower earth orbit. The increasing crew autonomy during those long-duration missions also calls for translational research for the onboard clinical utilization of EEG.