The Heart Changes Shape Astronauts in Space

Posted on Apr 3 2014 - 9:09pm by Admin

Living in microgravity , astronauts myocardium eventually round and could lead to cardiovascular complications. A parameter to take into account the day when men and women will head to Mars, for example.

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What health consequences that leave the Earth’s atmosphere and gravity ? The question asks NASA , determined to take maximum precautions before sending humans into space for long trips and book for a while various experiments . Scientists have noted for example the dangers of ionizing radiation or muscle atrophy , also offset by the practice of physical activity.

And among our muscles, there is one who does not know the cramp : the heart . However, a study presented at the 63rd Annual Meeting of the American College of Cardiology (ACC , Washington DC ) suggests that our myocardium could suffer the same ills . Important work while some space projects plan to send men and women to Mars in the next decade.

Once in high altitude , when the body is experiencing weightlessness , the heart does not need to invest as much to distribute blood to all parts of the body, especially at the top of the skull , since ‘ he no longer has to fight against gravity . However, a less active muscle loses its power and effectiveness .
Make the round heart

Thus , James Thomas , a specialist in medical imaging to the US-led space agency told a special mission 12 astronauts during their visit aboard the International Space Station ( ISS) : they had to pass ultrasounds before travel during their stay or return to Earth in order to evaluate the morphological changes of the myocardium over time .

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In space, the heart works less . We must therefore continue to operate at high power not to risk heart trouble once back on terra firma . Or Martians. © Oliver Burston , Wellcome Images , Flickr, cc by nc nd 2.0

The results were conclusive : During their stay at several hundred kilometers above the surface of the Earth, the myocardium is distorted. To be more specific , it is rounded to 9.4% . Very similar parameters of the assessments made in advance by mathematics and believed related to its slower models. A phenomenon that quickly disappears once back on terra firma and that could explain some dizziness or discomfort experienced by astronauts after their return, due to low blood pressure.
Sport to all floors

However, these data were established during short trips. What an odyssey after 18 months , the minimum time a mission to Mars ? Scientists do not know . However , they can now venture to evaluate using simulations , given the validation of the relevance of the models used.

The findings of such an investigation should allow specialists to develop a program of physical activity to maintain adequate cardiac activity , and avoid serious health consequences when the body will be again subjected to gravity. However, such a regime could sport not only concern an elite. It would also benefit those who remain on earth and suffer from crippling physical disabilities so they can enjoy the benefits of sport on health.

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