Cardiac and Vessel Structure and Function with Long-Duration Space Flight and Recovery (Vascular Echo) - 02.03.17
As humans get older on Earth, arteries stiffen and this causes an increase in blood pressure (hypertension) and elevates the risk for cardiovascular disease. Recently, it has been observed that some crew members returning from the International Space Station (ISS) have much stiffer arteries than when they went into space. Cardiac and Vessel Structure and Function with Long-Duration Space Flight and Recovery (Vascular Echo) examines changes in blood vessels, and the heart, while the crew members are in space, and then follow their recovery on return to Earth. The results could provide insight into potential countermeasures to help maintain crew member health, and quality of life for everyone. Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending Experiment Details
OpNom: Vascular Echo
Richard Lee Hughson, Ph.D., University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Kevin Shoemaker, Ph.D., Western University, London, Ontario, Canada
Philippe Arbeille, M.D., Universite Francois-Rabelais, Tours, France
Sponsoring Space Agency
Canadian Space Agency (CSA)
Earth Benefits, Scientific Discovery, Space Exploration
ISS Expedition Duration
March 2015 - March 2016; March 2016 - February 2017; March 2017 - September 2017; -
- Changes in the size and the elastic properties of arteries and veins have been observed with spaceflight. These changes might be related to the removal of the effects of gravity during spaceflight on blood pressure, and on the energy expenditure required to complete most tasks in the normal daily routine of ISS crew members.
- Changes in arteries might have long-term or permanent cardiovascular health consequences.
- This is particularly relevant for future interplanetary exploration as well as on Earth where many cultures are tending to adopt increasingly sedentary lifestyles.
- It is essential to gain a thorough knowledge of the cardiovascular adaptations to spaceflight including changes in blood markers of cardiovascular risk factors in order to establish appropriate countermeasures to maintain cardiovascular function and health.
Researchers are currently gaining an understanding of the full impact of changes in the effects of gravity and daily activity patterns while living on ISS on cardiovascular health. Recent data (published: Journal of Applied Physiology 103: 156-161, 2007; and, unpublished) have shown marked increases in arterial stiffness in many astronauts that have potential to induce long-term health consequences. This study of cardiovascular health in astronauts provides immediate feedback on the development of arterial stiffness and cardiac changes with spaceflight and provide an opportunity to examine the mechanisms responsible for these important changes in cardiovascular health. The results could provide insight into potential countermeasures to help maintain astronaut health.
Recently on Earth it has become clear that physical inactivity is associated with development of cardiovascular risk factors including arterial stiffness. The spaceflight model shows accelerated arterial stiffening thus providing a platform to explore potential mechanisms with a goal to provide interventions on Earth that slow vascular aging and improve the health and quality of life for everyone.
Operational Requirements and Protocols
Decadal Survey Recommendations
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