Spending just a few months in Antarctica can shrink your brain


Examining those brave individuals who spend extensive amounts of time in distant Antarctica research stations. This could be one approach to studying the consequences of long-term isolation on the human brain. A group of scientists detailed the findings of a novel brain. In imaging studies that followed nine participants for 14 months at the remote German Neumeyer. However, III Station explains in a new communication published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

All patients were under observation for levels of a critical protein. That’s the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). A cognitive test was there for symptoms of impairment during their time on the station. In addition to MRI brain data collected before and after the expedition.

The experiences of these nine people are obviously not comparable to complete social isolation. Also, a period of time spent in solitary confinement. But the researchers do remark that the expedition’s characteristics include intense environmental monotony and extended periods of relative isolation. The research station is completely sealed. After that it off from the outside world and is completely dark for several winter months. The station is only accessible for three months out of the year for food delivery or personnel evacuations.

Brains shrank by an average of 7%.

The findings of this short study were eye-catching. Brain scans taken at the end of the 14-month expedition found that the dentate gyrus. A part of the hippocampus has shrunk in all individuals. The left parietal gyrus, the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. The left orbitofrontal cortex showed volume reductions. While the left parietal gyrus, the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Also, the left orbitofrontal cortex had mean gray matter declines.

The researchers discovered a link between these structural abnormalities in the brain and lower BDNF levels in the blood. BDNF is a protein. It recognized to be important for brain health. In the brain, it promotes the development of new synapses and neurons. The study participants’ BDNF levels dropped to below baseline. The beginning levels within three months of arriving at the isolated Antarctic station.

more crucially, at the end of the study period. One and a half months after returning from the Antarctic site, these BDNF levels had not returned to normal. The researchers believe that a decrease in BDNF levels is to blame for the ensuing structural alterations in the brain.

The results of the current study, according to Alexander Stahn, principal researcher, should be interpreted with caution. The tiny cohort and other unstudied putative causal processes. They restrict the strength of the association between social and environmental deprivation and brain alterations. However, he points out that a large corpus of animal research backs up his team’s hypothesis.

Conclusion of Research

“The results of our study should be considered with caution due to the small number of participants,” says Stahn. “They do, however, provide crucial information. That harsh climatic conditions can have a negative influence on the brain. In particular, the generation of new nerve cells in the hippocampus dentate gyrus, as evidenced by preliminary studies in mice.”

Region of Antarctica

Most of the Antarctic area is made up of the continent of Antarctica. The Antarctic Convergence encompasses a frigid, desolate territory in the Southern Hemisphere known as the Antarctic. The Antarctic Convergence is a line of latitude where frigid, northward-flowing Antarctic seas collide with warmer ocean waves. About 20% of the Southern Hemisphere is covered by the Antarctic.

In terms of overall area, Antarctica is the fifth-largest continent. (It dwarfs both Oceania and Europe in size.) Antarctica is a one-of-a-kind continent in that it lacks a native population. Antarctica has no countries. Yet it is claimed by seven countries: New Zealand, Australia, France, Norway, the United Kingdom, Chile, and Argentina.

Within the Antarctic Convergence, island territories are also included. The islands of the Antarctic area are- the United Kingdom’s South Orkney Islands, South Shetland Islands, South Georgia, and the South Sandwich Islands; Norway’s Peter I Island and Bouvet Island; Australia’s Heard and McDonald Islands; and New Zealand’s Scott Island and the Balleny Islands.

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Physical Features

The region is dominated by the Antarctic Ice Sheet. It is the world’s largest single piece of ice. When snow and ice are at their most intense, this ice sheet even extends outside the continent.

The ice surface expands dramatically from over 3 million square kilometres (1.2 million square miles). In the summer to almost 19 million square kilometres (7.3 million square miles) in the winter. The Ross Ice Shelf and the Ronne Ice Shelf are the two most important coastal. Moreover, they are for ice shelves for ice sheet expansion. Ice shelves are connected to the land by floating ice sheets. Glacial ice travels at a pace of 10 to 1,000 metres (33–32,808 feet) per year. The continent’s interior lies within these lower-elevation ice shelves.

The Transantarctic Mountains, which split the continent into eastern and western parts, are among the continent’s many mountain peaks. A handful of these peaks reach heights of over 4,500 metres (14,764 feet). The Antarctic Ice Sheet is around 2,000 metres (6,562 feet) thick and rises to 4,000 metres (13,123 feet). It is from above sea level towards the continent’s centre.

Without the ice, Antarctica would be divided into two parts. Lesser Antarctica, a massive peninsula and archipelago of mountainous islands. Also, Greater Antarctica, a single enormous landmass roughly the size of Australia. Different geologies exist in these areas.


The climate in Antarctica is extremely cold and dry. Temperatures along Antarctica’s coast range from -10° Celsius to -30° Celsius (14° Fahrenheit to -22° Fahrenheit) throughout the winter. Coastal locations in the summer average approximately 0°C (32°F), but can go as high as 9°C (48°F).

Temperatures in the mountainous interior are substantially cooler, with winter lows of -60°C (-76°F) and summer highs of -20°C (-4°F). The coldest temperature ever recorded on Earth was -89.2 °C (-128.6 °F) at Russia’s Vostok Research Station in 1983. An even lower temperature resulted using a satellite: -135.8°F (-93.2°C).

In the Antarctic, measuring precipitation is difficult. It always comes down as snow. Every year, only 50 to 100 millimetres (2-4 inches) of water (in the form of snow) is available. although it is thought to fall in Antarctica’s interior. The Antarctic desert is one of the world’s driest deserts.

The Antarctic Peninsula plays a critical role in global climate change. It plays a crucial role in the Earth’s thermal balance. Moreover, the ratio between the quantity of solar heat received by Earth’s atmosphere. The amount of heat reflected back into space is known as the heat balance.

Climate change, it turns out, has caused more ice to accumulate in some places of Antarctica, according to NASA scientists. They claim that this is due to new climate patterns brought on by climate change. A “polar vortex” is a strong wind pattern. A polar vortex wind lowers Antarctic temperatures. That has grown in strength in recent decades—by as much as 15% since 1980. However, this effect is not apparent throughout the Antarctic, and ice melt is occurring in some areas.

Life on Antarctica

There is no indigenous population in Antarctica, and there has never been one (there are no native human Antarcticans).

Long before humans originated, the continent was part of a bigger land mass. That is named Gondwana. This is over the South Pole. It split from Australia and South America. For the past 35 million years, there have been no land bridges connecting Antarctica to the rest of the world. However, it has remained an isolated island.

By distance, temperature, and the storminess of its oceans, Antarctica was already too remote for ancient peoples to explore. Human technology and navigation have not advanced that much. until 1820, to allow someone to sail. That is far enough south to view Antarctica for the first time. There are some unsubstantiated allegations of landings in the Antarctic as early as 1820. While some historians consider 1899 to be the first undeniable date. There were no other people on Antarctica when the first people arrived.

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Who lives in Antarctica?

Tourists and those who live and work on scientific research stations. These are the two primary groups of people that travel to or live in Antarctica.

In the same manner that no one lives indefinitely anywhere else on the globe, no one lives in Antarctica. There are no commercial industries, towns, or cities, and no permanent people on the island.

In Antarctica, there are around 66 scientific bases. Of those, 37 are occupied year-round while the others are open during the summer and closed during the winter. During the summer, roughly 4,000 people live there, and about 1,000 people live there all year round.

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Results are shown in this experiment

The majority of occupants of research stations only stay for the summer. This might last anywhere from 3-6 months, with a smaller number staying for the Antarctic winter. Any chance of transport in or out is virtually impossible. A normal tour lasts one summer or one winter. Those are two summers on either side, for a total of 15 months. (This time is continuous, with no visits home or elsewhere in the meantime). It was once typical for people to stay for two winters and three summers. But this is no longer the case.

Some people have had to endure an “enforced” winter. This occurs when ice conditions prevent the ship. It is supposed to pick them up and get them through. This forces them to return home without them until the following year. As a result, another 6 months or more will pass before a ship can pass through. This might entail three summers and three winters in a row. At the very least an unexpected extra Antarctic winter season. Such incidents, on the other hand, were thankfully uncommon. This did little to improve the mental health of those involved, making reintegration into society more difficult.

Deepak Kumar

Deepak Kumar

Deepak Kumar is a professional Digital Marketer and business consultant to many startups. He loves to dig deep about business strategies, technology, fitness, automobiles, food, and travel. He is district level athlete as well. Connect with him on Linkedin for more.


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