Can I take a space flight? Considerations for doctors
ABSTRACT Commercial investment is bringing space tourism closer to reality. Marlene Grenon and colleagues outline what doctors will need to know Although perhaps unfamiliar with the specific physiological changes associated with commercial air travel, most physicians will have travelled by plane and many will have attended a passenger in need of medical assistance while on a commercial flight. They are, however, unlikely to have experience of space travel. Numerous commercial enterprises exist that will eventually provide competitively priced access to spaceflight experiences for paying customers. With spaceports construction under way, bookings are already taking place. Physicians can in future expect patients to ask questions and request clearance processes (such as fitness to fly certificates) for space travel as they do for commercial airplane flights today. Here, we provide some background to the field of space medicine for non-experts and point to resources for clinicians when a patient presents with requests related to space travel.
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ABSTRACT: Healthy immune function depends on precise regulation of lymphocyte activation. During the NASA Apollo and Shuttle eras, multiple spaceflight studies showed depressed lymphocyte activity under microgravity (µg) conditions. Scientists on the ground use two models of simulated µg (sµg), a) the rotating wall vessel (RWV) and b) the random positioning machine (RPM), to study the effects of reduced gravity on cell function before advancing research to the true µg of when spaceflight (SF) opportunities become available on International Space Station (ISS) . The objective of this study is to compare the effects of true µg and sµg on the expression of key early T-cell activation genes in mouse splenocyte from spaceflight and ground animals. For the first time, we compared all three conditions of microgravity SF, RPM and RWV during immune gene activation of Il2, Il2rα, Ifnγ, and Tagap; moreover, we identify two new early T-cell activation genes, Iigp1 and Slamf1. Gene expression for all samples was analyzed using quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR). Our results demonstrate significantly increased gene expression in activated 1g or ground samples with suppression of mouse immune activation in SF, RPM and RWV samples. These findings indicate that sµg models provide an excellent test bed for scientists to baseline and augment experiments for true µg studies in spaceflight. Ultimately, sµg and spaceflight studies in lymphocytes may provide insight into novel regulatory pathways, benefiting both future astronauts and those here on earth suffering from immune disorders. Copyright © 2015, American Journal of Physiology - Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology.AJP Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology 01/2015; 308(6):ajpregu.00449.2014. DOI:10.1152/ajpregu.00449.2014 · 3.53 Impact Factor
Article: Women’s Health in Spaceflight[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Drudi L, Grenon SM. Women's health in spaceflight. Aviat Space Environ Med 2014; 85:645–52. Objective: To review the current state of knowledge with regards to clinical challenges related to women’s health during spaceflight. Methods: Articles were reviewed relevant to “women”, “sex,” and “gender” in “microgravity,” “weightlessness,” and “spaceflight” in the English and Russian languages. Results: There were 50 papers identified. Studies have shown that crewmembers suffer from space motion sickness, but gender discrepancies have not been explored. Nearly all women experience orthostatic intolerance in space, which may be due to differences in female cardiovascular response. Immunosuppression in spaceflight results in susceptibility to opportunistic infections, but no studies have investigated gender differences. Finally, radiation exposure and germ cell viability influence the reproductive health of astronauts. Conclusions: With changes in space access offered by commercial space activities, research areas devoted to women’s health in microgravity should become one of the priorities for safe space exploratory efforts.Aviation Space and Environmental Medicine 06/2014; 85(6). DOI:10.3357/ASEM.3889.2014 · 0.78 Impact Factor
Article: Cosmic radiation may cause dementia.BMJ (online) 01/2013; 346:f225. DOI:10.1136/bmj.f225 · 16.38 Impact Factor