Navigation Links
The heart of an astronaut, five years on
Date:7/22/2014

The heart of an astronaut is a much-studied thing. Scientists have analyzed its blood flow, rhythms, atrophy and, through journal studies, even matters of the heart. But for the first time, researchers are looking at how oxidative stress and inflammation caused by the conditions of space flight affect those hearts for up to five years after astronauts fly on the International Space Station. Lessons learned may help improve cardiovascular health on Earth as well.

Oxidative stress reflects an imbalance in the body's ability to handle toxic byproducts from normal, oxygen-consuming cell metabolism. This imbalance produces peroxides and free radicals, which contribute to a number of degenerative conditions. Evidence indicates that oxidative stress and resulting inflammation can accelerate the development of atherosclerosis, a disease in which plaque builds up inside arteries. This disease can lead to heart attacks and strokes.

For this investigation, called Cardio Ox, researchers at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston will look at the function and structure of arteries along with specific biomarkers in the blood and urine that indicate inflammation and oxidative stress. These biological samples will be taken from astronauts before their launch, 15 and 60 days after launch, 15 days before returning to Earth, and within days after landing.

The crew will also take ultrasound scans of the carotid artery thickness and brachial artery dilation, recognized indicators of cardiovascular health, at the same time points, for comparison with the biomarkers. The same measurements will be taken and ultrasounds performed at the regular check-ups that all astronauts have one, three and five years after flight.

"This is the first cardiovascular study to cover such a long period," said Steven Platts, Ph.D., principal investigator. The data will create a picture over time, allowing researchers to examine whether blood vessel changes seen during flight returned to normal sometime after flight. They'll also be able to determine if the effects of oxidative stress grow worse over time or if astronauts experience chronic inflammation post-flight.

Many studies have looked at oxidative stress on Earth, but only astronauts are simultaneously exposed to so many factors known to cause it. The unique environment of a space mission combines a number of factors that can increase the risk of oxidative damage and inflammation, including radiation, psychological stress, reduced physical activity and, in the case of extravehicular activity, increased oxygen exposure.

"It's a perfect storm of things known to cause oxidative stress all happening at the same time," Platts explained. "So this study will enable us to answer some important questions, such as, do these factors work together to make things worse? Are any of them at high enough exposure to cause damage?" Knowing more about how space may cause changes in cardiovascular health will help scientists develop measures to counter its negative effects, in space and on Earth.

The pre-flight data provide a snapshot of an astronaut's cardiovascular health before exposure to the space environment, which then makes it reasonable to assume that any changes are caused by exposure to the space environment and not by other factors. Other studies have looked at specific factors such as mental stress or exercise and their relationship to oxidative damage, but the space station provides a unique opportunity to integrate a variety of causes in a single person.

Typically, a study eliminates all variables except one and examines that one, but this investigation looks at how the entire workplace environment affects the body. The same factors also affect people in unique Earth-bound job environments, such as long-haul jet pilots or train engineers, those who work in a small room all day at a radiation plant, or in unique conditions such as Antarctica. Such situations subject people to stress similar to that experienced by astronauts. The disruption of daily rhythm and sleep patterns experienced in space could be extrapolated to shift workers on Earth as well.

Astronaut Scott Kelly participated in the investigation during his time in orbit and recently completed his one-year post-flight checkup. The study is continuing aboard the station, and a total of 12 astronauts in all will participate during the five-year investigation. You could say the subjects are really putting their hearts into it.


'/>"/>

Contact: Laura Niles
Laura.E.Niles@nasa.gov
281-244-7069
NASA/Johnson Space Center
Source:Eurekalert  

Related medicine news :

1. Ronald S. Weaver, MD, Owner of Global Cardio Care Centers, Announces EECP Treatment Success for Cardiomyopathy Patient Who Needed Heart Transplant
2. No Change in Heart Attack Rates for Younger U.S. Adults
3. Young women with a heart attack continue to fare worse than men
4. Irregular Heart Rhythm Ups Stroke Risk Soon After Heart Surgery
5. Healing the heart with fat
6. Heart disease: First Canadian survey shows women unaware of symptoms and risk factors
7. Childhood Sex Abuse May Be Linked to Heart Disease Risk in Women
8. Niacin Doesnt Reduce Heart Problems, May Create Some, Research Finds
9. Scientists Use Gene Therapy to Create Biological Pacemaker in Pig Hearts
10. Potassium Supplements May Help Some Heart Failure Patients
11. Scientists Create Biological Pacemaker in Pig Hearts
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
The heart of an astronaut, five years on
(Date:2/11/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... February 11, 2016 , ... ... upcoming Feb. 23 webinar, “Intel’s Direct-to-Employee Benefit Model: A Case Study for Plans ... Catholic health care system that’s partnering with Intel on value-based health benefits program ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... Australia (PRWEB) , ... February 11, 2016 , ... ... potential ?" motivational speaker, trainer and author Ray Clarke poses a question as ... personal fulfillment . In his book, "Being in the Being" (published by Partridge ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... City, FL (PRWEB) , ... February 11, 2016 ... ... announced the commencement of a master charity program created to assist the people ... 60 days, working closely with nonprofit organizations and community leaders. Their hope is ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... February 11, 2016 , ... ... multi-specialty practice Village Family Practice , will be presenting at the 2016 ... in Las Vegas, Nev. , During his session, “ Coding for Care: ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... ... The annual list showcases the 20 Most Promising SharePoint Solution Providers in ... commitment to the SharePoint ecosystem. A panel of experts and members of CIOReview’s editorial ... and promote technology entrepreneurship. , The survey was made at the end of ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/11/2016)... , Feb. 11, 2016 Potrero Medical, Inc., ... pleased to announce the appointment of George M. Rapier, ... San Antonio, TX , WellMed is one of ... 200,000 patients and HMO members in Texas ... in 1990 out of his own internal medicine practice, he ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... , Feb. 11, 2016  NOIT™ Research LLC, a ... "Gift of Change" campaign to assist needy families in ... such unit sold between February 10, 2016 and March ... a needy family. The NOIT is an auditory stimulus ... individuals develop language skills. Beth Shier ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... , Feb. 11, 2016  MiMedx Group, Inc. ... utilizing human amniotic membrane and other birth tissues, human ... to develop and market advanced products and therapies, announced ... Markets, 2016 Global Healthcare Conference in New ... and CEO, Michael J. Senken , Chief Financial ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: