By Shelly Fan
With 18-year-olds continuing to work on the International Space Station (ISS), we already have a basic idea of what happens to our earth-grooved bodies in zero difficulty. Our hearts fall into shape, so deepening the amount of sugar can absorb and carry the blood. Our issues and museums know without gravitational challenge. Fluid steps to our head, always more pressure in our eyes.
Many of these symptoms appear to increase from & # 39; longer people in & # 39; stay room. Do with room rooms often only six months, how to adjust our bodies and minds to long-term flight flaps – that is, if we agree – stay a complete secret.
Until now. This week, an ambitious NASA collaboration of over 80 scientists in ten teams published the most extensive study of what's happening to people – and returning to our blue blue spots.
The news is good. In total, the data "at the molecular level has the resistance and robustness of how one human body is adapted to the floor space environment," said Dr. Jenn Fogarty, chief executive of the NASA Human Research Program. "This research was a stepping stone for future biological space research that focused on molecular changes and how their so-called health and achievements of astronauts can speak."
The actual results are not even the most impressive parts of the study. However, the technical tour-de-force stands out in its sheer scope and research subjects.
For 25 months, the teams examined astronauts before, during and after a year of spaceflight. By analyzing multiple points of view, they were able to build stop-motion "movies" that changes track into "biology over time" in pleasant detail. The results span almost the full spectrum of biomedicine: at the micro level, from healing expression, DNA damage, and cellular metabolism to changes in the microbiome and immune system; at the macro level, links in knowledge, body weight, eyes, and cardiovascular functions.
It marks the first time NASA has investigated various layers of biological data, or "multiple surrounds" for space travel.
But perhaps more unique were the study trees: astronauts Scott and Mark Kelly, some identical twins. Although Mark had previously used short police in space, he remained at & # 39; The Earth before the time of this study – just named the NASA Twin Study – while Scott spent 340 days at one ISS. For the astronauts to have the same basic genetic blueprint, "nature," scientists were an exceptional opportunity to travel the effect of "nourrea" space travel.
The concern is that the results and conclusions cannot be entirely for others. "We can't tell if any of the results are because of space travel or similarity," the team recognized. However, the data have been used to learn directly at future studies that have other astronauts, where they can ultimately and remove the negative health effects of & # 39; they say space.
With commercial spatial flooding, a return to & # 39; month in & # 39; e works, and a three-year science to Mars in view, we honor in & # 39; a definite grinzer. Some of the Twin Studies will offer these future projects new opportunities for further "contextualizing" from & # 39; a physiology in the long term, the autors have said.
Concepts of changes in Store
When it comes to specific mortal changes, the conclusions come murkier.
First, the genes. Radiation is a well-known trigger for DNA damage, and the teams found major changes in Scott's expression of "pages" – how to make its genes experimental – in comparison to its brother.
Some of the changed expectations were expected: the people who were involved in & # 39; e bone repair and DNA repair, for example, that even after Scott traveled to the earth, suggesting that his genome was relatively unstable. The teams also found changes in their mitochondrial genes, which they can control how they generate electricity, and also several genes that are associated with their immune system. Although these genetic changes in the immune system are active, it is unclear; A grabbing grant meant to Scott in the space worked as.
"Gene expressionism is changing," said Mason, his team worked on genomics. "In the past six months of a command, there were six changes to one's expressions than in the first half of a mission."
However, up to 91% of the expression fluctuation, six months back to baseline for Scott were back home. "In total, these data are plasticization and capability for many network chains … and biological functions," the team concluded.
Dr. Andrew Feinberg and Dr. Lindsay Rizzardi explains why learning compelling astronauts helps capture space factors related to spaceflight. Credit: Johns Hopkins Medicine
More alien was Scott's telomear, the "end caps" that protects them from chromosomes when they repair them. The masters of the genome, telomerecs are known to shrink with age, which can explain why our domain is not stable when we are age. Shockingly, Scott's telomeres were longer in space – generally considered a protective answer.
"We were surprised, that was the first reaction," said Dr. Susan Bailey at Colorado State University, who led the study.
Susan Bailey explains her findings on telomeric changes in space and back to earth. Credit: Colorado State University.
However, they had to come back in months, the team found more "frayed" chromosome ends, probably some of Scott's telomearing again to a point of complete loss. The health effects are not immediately apparent; Short telomerees correlate with age-related diseases such as heart disease and cancer, for example, but whether Scott is at higher risk for these health problems then everyone stays. However, telomeric shortcuts are a clear field for scientists to conduct research.
Second, the body. About the past, Scott had problems with his eyes by fluid buildup, and some of his problems also stayed home, while his Earth bound bridle was in & # 39; e study no eye problems lies. In the flight, Scott's cardiovascular system also triggered the "puffy face" syndrome, and its immune system gained, suggesting its body was under stress . Its kidney function also changed a way to suffer from dissolution and kidney stones, though it has no problems.
In the end, though, he was a battery of cognitive test subject, Scott all in all, except for spatial orientation to his spaceflight, believing both his speed and justice of the reasons at least half a year as the return home. Scientists are not sure if space is too bad: the trauma of & # 39; a redirection; The Earth and the demand for astronauts to participate in research studies and media events can consist of its mental reservoir in an exam, a result of poor performance.
The Twin Study, though remarkable, is just the beginning.
To gather data in space, the teams developed a bank of new tools, such as a portable DNA sequencing technique that works on the ISS. Although not used in this study, the sequencer could eventually allow astronauts to enter their own DNA & # 39; read microgravity.
And to look forward, a year in & # 39; space is not that long. A round trip to Mars is piloted at the last three years, while astronauts are experimenting more crimes as they go about protecting the earth's magnetic field. We will study more studies to investigate the health impact of even longer space fluctuations in a future.
But this effort is a foundation building.
"Sunday, the study … represents more than a small step for the human being in this consequence," Löbrich concludes.