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  Anatomical changes and long-duration spaceflight

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Author Topic:   Anatomical changes and long-duration spaceflight
Tykeanaut
Member

Posts: 1821
From: Worcestershire, England, UK.
Registered: Apr 2008

posted 12-25-2013 04:20 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Tykeanaut   Click Here to Email Tykeanaut     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Eyesight tends to degrade, sometimes markedly (no one's exactly sure why yet?)

— From Chris Hadfield's "An Astronaut's Guide To Life On Earth"

Surely it has to do with the eye muscles weakening as with the other muscles of the body if not exercised?

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 29313
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 12-25-2013 05:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
According to NASA studies, the vision issues have less to do with muscle loss than they do increased pressure caused by the shifting of fluids inside the body.
Previous research, published in the October 2011 issue of Ophthalmology, identified a possible link between the reported vision changes and increased intracranial pressure caused by shifts in bodily fluids from the lower extremities to the upper part if the body, due to microgravity.
There is also a study looking at the effect of vitamin deficiencies as a contributing cause.

cspg
Member

Posts: 4528
From: Geneva, Switzerland
Registered: May 2006

posted 12-25-2013 05:53 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cspg   Click Here to Email cspg     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA Watch indicates that a report from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies regarding health issues and long-term spaceflight is due next month.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 29313
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 01-06-2014 10:34 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies released its Review of NASA's Evidence Reports on Human Health Risks today (Jan. 6).
The newly released Institute of Medicine report, Review of NASA's Human Research Program Evidence Books: A Letter Report, examines NASA's plans to assemble the available evidence on human health risks of spaceflight and to move forward in identifying and addressing gaps in research. The committee provided recommendations to strengthen the content, composition, and dissemination of the evidence books. Opportunities to further improve future versions of the evidence books are discussed so that these documents can serve as a continuously updated knowledge base of evidence regarding risks to human health associated with spaceflight, particularly spaceflight beyond low Earth orbit and of long duration.

lspooz
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Posts: 122
From: Greensboro NC USA
Registered: Aug 2012

posted 01-06-2014 12:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for lspooz   Click Here to Email lspooz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Visual issues reviewed page 27+, with the most notable points being:
  1. At least 15 astronauts have noted visual impairment [some persisting after return from space], with some connection to optic cup swelling and choroidal folds in the retina
  2. Too early/insufficient data to decide the cause of these issues [and the report notes other causes than possible intracranial pressure changes must still be analyzed]

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 29313
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 01-28-2014 12:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The New York Times' Kenneth Chang reports on the changes to the human body in microgravity in Beings Not Made for Space
The human body did not evolve to live in space. And how that alien environment changes the body is not a simple problem, nor is it easily solved.

Some problems, like the brittling of bone, may have been overcome already. Others have been identified — for example, astronauts have trouble eating and sleeping enough — and NASA is working to understand and solve them.

Then there are the health problems that still elude doctors more than 50 years after the first spaceflight. In a finding just five years ago, the eyeballs of at least some astronauts became somewhat squashed.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 29313
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 04-02-2014 03:53 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
A new National Research Council report out today (April 2) addresses the ethics surrounding Health Standards for Long Duration and Exploration Spaceflight:
Since its inception, the U.S. human spaceflight program has grown from launching a single man into orbit to an ongoing space presence involving numerous crewmembers. As the U.S. space program evolves, propelled in part by increasing international and commercial collaborations, long duration or exploration spaceflights - such as extended stays on the International Space Station or missions to Mars - become more realistic. These types of missions will likely expose crews to levels of known risk that are beyond those allowed by current health standards, as well as to a range of risks that are poorly characterized, uncertain, and perhaps unforeseeable. As the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and Congress discuss the next generation of NASA's missions and the U.S. role in international space efforts, it is important to understand the ethical factors that drive decision making about health standards and mission design for NASA activities.

NASA asked the Institute of Medicine to outline the ethics principles and practices that should guide the agency's decision making for future long duration or exploration missions that fail to meet existing health standards. Health Standards for Long Duration and Exploration Spaceflight identifies an ethics framework, which builds on the work of NASA and others, and presents a set of recommendations for ethically assessing and responding to the challenges associated with health standards for long duration and exploration spaceflight.As technologies improve and longer and more distant spaceflight becomes feasible, NASA and its international and commercial partners will continue to face complex decisions about risk acceptability. This report provides a roadmap for ethically assessing and responding to the challenges associated with NASA's health standards for long duration and exploration missions. Establishing and maintaining a firmly grounded ethics framework for this inherently risky activity is essential to guide NASA's decisions today and to create a strong foundation for decisions about future challenges and opportunities.

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