Astronauts' hearts become more spherical in outer space
A new study has found that astronauts' hearts become more spherical when exposed to long periods of microgravity in space in space.
The study has represented an important step toward understanding how a spaceflight of 18 months or more could affect astronauts' heart health.
The results showed that the heart in space becomes more spherical by a factor of 9.4 percent, a transformation similar to what scientists had predicted with sophisticated mathematical models developed for the project.
According to the findings, the astronauts' more spherical heart shape appears to be temporary, with the heart returning to its normal elongated shape shortly after the return to Earth.
James Thomas, M.D., Moore Chair of Cardiovascular Imaging and Lead Scientist for Ultrasound at NASA said that the heart doesn't work as hard in space, which can cause a loss of muscle mass and can have serious consequences after the return to Earth.
The researchers said that knowing the amount and type of exercise astronauts need to perform to keep the heart healthy is going to be very important to guarantee their safety on a long flight like a mission to Mars.
Thomas added that exercise regimens developed for astronauts could also be used to help maintain heart health in people on Earth who have severe physical limitations, such as people on extended bed rest or those with heart failure regime.
(Posted on 30-03-2014)