A study finds that astronauts’ cancer risk needs careful monitoring, as it has stored spacefowl blood for 20 years.
All 14 astronauts in the study, from NASA Space ship The program, has DNA mutations in hematopoietic stem cells, a Study the biology of nature communication (Opens in a new tab) Concluded on August 31. However, the mutations, although unusually high given the age of the astronauts, were below the main concern threshold.
While the study is unique to keeping astronauts’ blood for a long time, the results don’t hold back. Instead, the researchers suggest that astronauts undergo periodic blood tests to monitor for potential mutations. (And it must be taken into account in context; another 2019 study, for example, found that astronauts Don’t die of cancer due to ionizing space radiation.)
However, monitoring programs will be critical as NASA accesses long-duration deep space missions through them Artemis program On the the moon And then, human flights to Marssaid the new study team in a permit (Opens in a new tab). (The new study and the 2019 Cancer Study are largely short-range mission astronauts.)
The team decided to pursue the new study in light of “the growing interest in both commercial spaceflight and deep space exploration, and the potential health risks of exposure to various harmful agents associated with frequent or long-duration space exploration missions.” Lead author Dr. David Jokasian and Icahn Professor of Cardiology at Mount Sinai said in the statement.
NASA recently Lifetime radiation requirements changed for astronauts who critics said discriminated against women, who historically had fewer boundaries than male astronauts. (So far, other races have not been disclosed in the agency’s census.)
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The researchers found a higher frequency of somatic mutations in the genes of the 14 astronauts considered in the study, compared to statistics for the population who went to space.
The space group flew between 1998 and 2001 on shuttle missions for an average of 12 days. Nearly 85 percent of the group was male, and six of the astronauts were on their first mission.
The researchers collected whole blood samples from the astronauts twice, exactly 10 days before the spaceflight and on the day of landing. White blood cells were collected once, three days after landing. The blood samples were then left untouched in the refrigerator for 20 years, where they were cold at minus 112 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 80 degrees Celsius).
But the somatic mutations seen in the genes were less than 2%. The statement said that individuals who break this limit face a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease and some forms of cancer.
“The presence of these mutations does not necessarily mean that astronauts will develop cardiovascular disease or cancer, but there is a risk that this will happen over time through continuous and prolonged exposure to the harsh environment of deep space,” Jokasian added.