Navigation Links
Deep-space travel could create heart woes for astronauts
Date:4/7/2011

Astronauts anticipate more trips to the moon and manned missions to Mars. But exposure to cosmic radiation outside the Earth's magnetic field could be detrimental to their arteries, according to a study by University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers published April 6, 2011, online in the journal Radiation Research.

Using an animal model, researchers assessed the affect of iron ion radiation commonly found in outer space to see if exposures promoted the development of atherosclerosis, as terrestrial sources of radiation are known to do. They observed that cosmic radiation accelerated the development of atherosclerosis, independent of the cholesterol levels or circulating white blood cells of the mice. It also worsened existing atherosclerotic lesions.

"It's well known that prolonged exposure to radiation sources here on Earth, including those used in cancer treatment, excessive occupational exposure and atomic bombs, are associated with an increased risk for atherosclerosis," said Dennis Kucik, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor in the UAB Department of Pathology. "But cosmic radiation is very different from X-rays and other radiation found on Earth. The radiation risks of deep-space travel are difficult to predict, largely because so few people have been exposed."

Accelerated ions in cosmic radiation interact differently with objects and people, Kucik said.

X-rays can be blocked by lead shields; however, cosmic radiation ions can become more dangerous when they interact with metals, generating secondary particles that also may have biological effects. Although it is possible to use other materials to shield against ion radiation, incorporating these into spacesuits presents significant challenges.

The only people who have been exposed to high levels of cosmic radiation are the 24 astronauts who have been to the moon as part of NASA's Apollo missions in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Kucik said because many people have early atherosclerosis -- whether they travel in space or not they could not draw any conclusions from the small number of astronauts who have been outside the Earth's magnetic field. And, he added, even if they could, with so few people it would be impossible to perform a relevant epidemiological study

Instead, Kucik and his colleagues examined atherosclerosis development in mice following targeted exposure to a particle beam of high-velocity iron ions similar to those found in space produced by scientists at Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York. They analyzed the mice at 13 and 40 weeks afterward to assess the development of atherosclerosis in the aorta and carotid arteries. They concluded there was involvement of components in the arterial wall in the biological response to radiation injury.

"At 13 weeks it was surprising and quite remarkable that we already could see permanent damage an irreversible thickening of the artery wall where it had been exposed to radiation," said co-author Janusz Kabarowski, Ph.D., assistant professor in the UAB Department of Microbiology. "The irradiation had no significant effect on the frequency of circulating immune and inflammatory white blood cells or plasma lipid profile."

Knowing the effects of cosmic radiation on the heart health of deep-space astronauts will help meet the unique challenges of treatment and prevention posed by missions of long duration, Kabarowski said. "Our future research will look at the mechanisms causing the damage, and we will try to find a way to target those mechanisms to correct the damage or prevent it altogether."

Kucik said the team's findings also may inform cancer treatment. Newer proton radiation therapies can be targeted to stop and deposit all of their energy in a tumor, much like iron ions from space stop in the body. "No one knows the atherosclerotic risk of this therapy," Kucik said. "Anything we learn through these studies on deep-space travel will be useful for cancer patients."


'/>"/>

Contact: Jennifer Lollar
jpark@uab.edu
205-934-3888
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Jion Beijing Great Wall International Travel Agency Immediate Exposure to China Expo 2010
2. UQ research shows canecutters disease on the rise among travelers
3. 57 Year-Old Grandmother Travels to Atacama Desert to Run First of Four Ultramarathons for Charity
4. Travel to 10 Best Eco-Adventure Destinations in India with Thrillophilia
5. HealthTraveler™ is World's First Mobile App for Medical Tourism
6. Abington Memorial Hospital's Travelers Clinic Can Protect Travelers From The Now Active Yellow Fever
7. Just in Time for Spring Break 2010, AssistCard Mexico Launches Concierge-style Health and Security Services for Travelers to Mexico
8. Just in Time for Spring Break 2010, AssistCare Mexico Launches Concierge-style Health and Security Services for Travelers to Mexico
9. Genealogical tourism redefining leisure travel market, professor says
10. Air Travel Could Raise Risk for Heartbeat Irregularities
11. Spring Break Travel Begins with iTriage
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/31/2016)... ... May 31, 2016 , ... To meet a ... the healthcare industry, The University of Scranton is adding a Certificate in Health ... a career in rapidly growing field of healthcare information. , Healthcare organizations ...
(Date:5/30/2016)... Salt Lake City, Utah (PRWEB) , ... May ... ... health insurance reimbursement for small businesses, announced today the publication of an original ... helps business owners and health insurance professionals understand how Zane Benefits complies with ...
(Date:5/29/2016)... ... 29, 2016 , ... "With 30 unique self-animating web themed intros and complete ... their project," said Christina Austin - CEO of Pixel Film Studios. , ProIntro ... use in Final Cut Pro X. Pixel Film Studios’ minimalistic titles allow users to ...
(Date:5/28/2016)... ... ... a part of the city where’s it’s easy to spot the neon lights of chains ... to attract diners with a taste for real food. , On May 13, the ... Grill, an urban casual restaurant focusing on dishes made by hand with wholesome, organic ingredients ...
(Date:5/27/2016)... , ... May 27, 2016 , ... An influential resource ... a third time to shed lights on the variety of topics detailing why we ... “Nurse Appreciation” tackles why this career has gone from being in a major recession ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/27/2016)... , May 27, 2016 ... the Dario™ Diabetes Management Tool, today announced that the Company,s ... the Marcum MicroCap Conference being held June 1-2 in ... Invitational, being held June 7-9 in Los Angeles, ... will discuss recent corporate and operational milestones, including the U.S. ...
(Date:5/27/2016)... 27, 2016 The healthcare sector ... insurance companies all falling under its umbrella.  A rather ... not often talked about, these healthcare companies are still ... is by far the largest consumer of ... Corp. (OTC: ADMD), Nutranomics Inc. (OTC: NNRX), KollagenX Corp. ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... 26, 2016 Since its commercial ... an essential life science tool for conducting genetic studies ... Research reveals in its new report that the industry ... one powered by a range of new applications in ... (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140723/694805 ) , Since ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: