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Research by Nigerian reveals space missions pose health risks to astronauts

Research by Nigerian reveals space missions pose health risks to astronauts

A recent study has uncovered potential health hazards to astronauts embarking on space missions.
According to the findings, space travel poses severe risks, not just from the rigours of zero gravity and prolonged weightlessness but also from the adverse impact on gut health.
The study found that space missions are linked to a significant spike in ‘leaky gut’ syndrome, where the intestinal lining becomes more permeable, potentially allowing harmful bacteria and toxins to enter the bloodstream.
The study published in the Journal of Life Science in Space Biology, was conducted by a Nigerian and a microbiology health researcher, Akinsuyi Oluwamayowa.
The researcher discovered that the health risks for astronauts are especially worrisome in the distinctive space environment, where typical Earth-based medical support is not easily accessible.
The study revealed that when the intestinal barrier is compromised, it permits toxins and bacteria to enter the bloodstream, potentially causing systemic inflammation and raising the risk of infections.
The report further revealed, “The key findings are interesting and alarming, indicating a marked decrease in the expression of genes that are essential for maintaining the gut’s protective lining. This decrease has serious implications for an astronaut’s ability to ward off disease.
“In tandem, there was an observed increase in the expression of genes associated with inflammatory cytokines, which are indicative of the body’s response to stress or injury. This increase suggests that space travel triggers inflammatory processes, which could have a range of negative health outcomes. ”
Speaking on the study, Oluwamuyiwa, explained that there was a significant shifts in the composition of the astronauts’ gut microbiota.
“The altered gut microbiota and increased gut permeability observed in astronauts could lead to severe health issues that not only affect the individuals but could also jeopardize entire missions,” he noted.
He also revealed a decrease in important beneficial bacteria essential for immune system health.
Speaking further on the study Oluwamayowa said, “There was a decline in the presence of beneficial bacteria, which are crucial for not only digestion but also for the overall immune system function. Conversely, there was a rise in potentially harmful Gram-negative bacteria. These changes in gut flora composition could further weaken the intestinal barrier and exacerbate the risks associated with leaky gut syndrome.
“The implications of these findings are far-reaching. As space agencies like NASA and SpaceX set their sights on more ambitious missions, including the prospect of manned missions to Mars, the health and well-being of astronauts are of utmost importance.
“This study underscores the urgent need for targeted research to understand and mitigate the health risks associated with space travel. It is imperative that we develop strategies to maintain gut health and prevent the adverse effects of altered gut permeability. These strategies could be crucial for the success of future space missions, particularly those of longer duration.”

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