воскресенье, 24 ноября 2019 г.

An alarming discovery in the blood of an astronaut













ISS - International Space Station logo.

Nov. 23, 2019

Astronauts at the International Space Station have discovered an additional risk to past space travel.

This discovery proves the importance of conducting more in-depth research into the risks astronauts face in space. Image Credits: Niketh Vellanki via Unsplash.

Astronauts are not just people who have the chance to visually check that Earth is round. These are also important topics of study when trying to find out what effects space produces on the human body.

On Earth, astronauts are regularly subjected to battery tests to measure their vital signs and physical condition. In space, the cosmonauts take care themselves to carry out these tests. During an ultrasound, one of them realized that a blood clot had formed in one of his veins, to the surprise of the specialist who was assisting him in real time from the Earth.

"We were not expecting it," says Karina Marshall-Goebel, NASA's chief scientist and author of a study on the subject. "It has never been reported before." Other NASA physicians have intervened to treat the astronaut remotely using anticoagulants.

This is not the first time that we notice significant side effects in people who spend time in orbit: optic nerves swollen, eyes a little flattened and vision deteriorated due to increased pressure intracranial.

The need to conduct studies on astronauts

To understand how this blood clot had developed, scientists studied the jugular vein of eleven astronauts, nine men and two women on a mission aboard the ISS, the international space station. Their blood flow was measured, sitting, lying down and tilting. Then participants were asked to repeat the same tests in the space.

Scientists found that blood flow stopped in five of the eleven astronauts. Yet, it is not common for blood to stagnate in this kind of veins. Usually, it happens in the legs, when sitting too long without moving.

Blood clot. Image Credit: Wikimedia

Sometimes the blood clot dissolves itself or with anticoagulants. But other times, it can cause significant blockages. In the case of two astronauts, the researchers realized that their blood had begun to turn around in the jugular vein, probably because it was blocked downstream.

Karina Marshall-Goebel hypothesizes that the organs are brought up inside their bodies, causing dysfunctions of their blood circulation. Once back on Earth, the astronauts no longer had problematic blood clots and their health has returned to normal.

This discovery, however, has shown the importance of conducting more in-depth research into the risks that astronauts face in space. Because if it takes only a few hours to return to Earth from the ISS, it would take months to return from Mars for example. Not to mention that astronauts maintain excellent physical fitness, which is not necessarily the case for everyone willing to pay to participate in the SpaceX project.

Related link:

Assessment of Jugular Venous Blood Flow Stasis and Thrombosis During Spaceflight
https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2755307

Space Station Research and Technology: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/index.html

International Space Station (ISS): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html

Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Michael B. Stenger, PhD/Marshall-Goebel K et al./SLATE/Orbiter.ch Aerospace/Roland Berga.

Greetings, Orbiter.ch

* This article was originally published here

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