Heart health in outer space

Summary:If scientists are able to come up with strategies for keeping the astronauts healthy, those same strategies may be applicable to us back on earth.

We're all concerned with our health, but those who travel into space have more to be concerned with. Weightless environments change how everything works, including the heart. What happens to heart strength and size when you live without gravity for weeks or months at a time?

These are the questions that the NASA Integrated Cardiology Project set out to answer. It's been going on for some time now, and has ended recently. One thing that scientists have learned is that the heart actually gets smaller when in a weightless environment and that certainly has implications for those coming home after a long voyage.

The most interesting possible outcome of this research is the potential to explore what might happen to earthbound people who are bed-ridden or unable to live active lifestyles. If scientists are able to come up with strategies for keeping the astronauts healthy, those same strategies may be applicable to us back on earth.

Here's a fascinating video featuring NASA's Michael Bungo, co-investigator for the Integrated Cardiovascular experiment.

Topics: Health

About

Denise Amrich is a Registered Nurse who also has 20 years of operations, logistics, and editorial management experience. She is the health care advisor for the U.S. Strategic Perspective Institute, and a mentor for the Virtual Campus at Florida's Brevard Community College.Denise co-founded ZATZ Publishing, and has been the managing editor... Full Bio

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