Latest Advances in Space Health and Medicine

When astronauts travel to space, microgravity, intense cosmic radiation and extreme cold can have negative effects on their bodies and health. Scientists want to better understand the intricate details of what happens to humans in space, and they’re trying to find ways to counter these effects. Below are some recent articles published in CSA journals that report on advances in space health and medicine. Journalists can request free access to these documents by sending an e-mail [email protected]

“3D biofabrication of a heart tissue construct for lasting longevity and function”

Applied materials and ACS interfaces
May 9, 2022
Bioengineering human heart tissue that functions like real hearts is a challenge. Now the researchers have cultured three types of cells -; cardiomyocytes, fibroblasts and endothelial cells -; in a gelatin-alginate hydrogel and 3D printed the bioink in a waffle-like structure. The heart tissue model retained its structure and cellular function for 21 days. Next, the team will put their bioprinted tissues in microgravity to study the progression of heart disease in space.

“Space Medicines for Space Health”

ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters
April 28, 2022
To date, more than 300 medical and health-related experiments have been performed on the International Space Station, and this review looks at some of the results. The authors discuss the effects of hostile conditions in outer space on: human bodies and well-being, drug stability and bioavailability, and the future of drug manufacturing when resupply missions are not achievable.

“Radiation causes alterations in the metabolism of polyamines, purines and sulfur in red blood cells and several organs”

Proteome Research Journal
January 19, 2022
In this paper, the researchers conducted a comprehensive multi-organ study of how high doses of gamma radiation affect mice, which are models for humans on long-duration deep space travel. Metabolic processes were significantly altered in many organs of treated mice compared to controls. The team concluded that high-dose radiation exposure could accelerate aging and potentially shorten human life.

“Administration of Cerium Oxide Nanoparticles to Skeletal Muscle Cells Under Different Gravity and Radiation Conditions”

Applied materials and ACS interfaces
August 19, 2021
Here, antioxidant cerium oxide nanoparticles were tested as a treatment to prevent muscle loss during spaceflight. The researchers cultured muscle tissue from mice aboard the International Space Station and on Earth, exposing some of the tissue to the nanoparticles. The results showed that microgravity and radiation greatly affected muscle gene expression, even in the presence of antioxidant nanoparticles, suggesting that other methods of cerium oxide delivery are needed to protect muscles.

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