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Deep space exploration is something which scientists have been aiming for, for a long time. However, among many other technical limitations and complications, biological limitations are also a factor.
NASA conducted a study to assess the biological effects that long term space exploration can have on humans.
The study was done on a pair of twin astronauts, one on earth as a control and the other after a 1 year long space mission.
To study the influence of microgravity, radiation and confinement in long-duration spaceflight, NASA selected twins Scott and Mark Kelly for a unique mission. Scott went to space while Mark was chosen as the control to stay on earth for comparison.
The one year long space mission spanned ac...
Telomeres, are the “caps” that protect the ends of DNA strands.
On Earth, these telomeres get depleted over the course of a person’s lifetime as each round of DNA replication wears away at them.
However, in space, the findings were contradictory to what the scientists were expecting....
Under stressful situations, normally, there is a change in genetic expression.
Accordingly there were changes, but, the unexpected finding was that, these changes in gene expressions, seemed to have accelerated(6 times more) during the latter 6 months of the mission.
A decline in cognitive efficiency was reported.
NASA had prepared a set of questions to assess various mental state and cognition.
Upon return, even though Scott’s in-flight measures were stable, his “cognitive efficiency,” or his speed and accuracy in completi...
His gut microbiome showed altered bacterial proportions, although the overall bacterial diversity was intact.
Several proteins also changed during the spaceflight.
This study was in no way conclusive or predictive, because of the very small sample size(just one pair of twins), a short study period, just to name a couple of reasons.
However, it has given an idea of potential changes to be expected and a foundation for upcoming research in the field of ...
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I have been researching about the future of healthcare and how it would change over the coming years with the evolving technologies and the growing population. This context may be way into the future, but it is interesting to consider how space medicine can be possible, as you need more than a rocket to venture out in space!
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