Anemia in astronauts could be a challenge for space missions

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David Saint-Jacques collects breath, ambient air, and humor samples aboard the International Space Station successful this undated handout photograph obtained by Reuters connected January 14, 2022. NASA Anne McClain/Handout via REUTERS

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Jan 14 (Reuters) - The adjacent "giant leap" for humans whitethorn beryllium a travel to Mars, but having capable oxygen-carrying reddish humor cells for the travel mightiness contiguous a challenge, caller probe suggests.

Even abstraction tourists lining up for abbreviated trips mightiness person to enactment location if they are astatine hazard for anemia, oregon reddish humor compartment deficiency, researchers said.

Astronauts are known to acquisition "space anemia" but until present it was thought to beryllium temporary. One NASA study called it "a 15-day ailment."

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Doctors attributed it to demolition of reddish humor cells, oregon hemolysis, resulting from fluid shifts arsenic astronauts' bodies accommodated to weightlessness and again arsenic they re-accommodated to gravity.

In fact, anemia is "a superior effect of going to space," said Dr. Guy Trudel of the University of Ottawa, who led a survey of 14 astronauts funded by the Canadian Space Agency. "As agelong arsenic you are successful space, you are destroying much humor cells" than you are making."

Normally, the assemblage destroys and replaces astir 2 cardinal reddish humor cells per second. Trudel's squad recovered astronauts' bodies destroyed 3 cardinal reddish humor cells per 2nd during their six-month missions.

"We thought we knew astir abstraction anemia, and we did not," Trudel said.

The astronauts generated other reddish cells to compensate for the destroyed ones. But, Trudel asked, however agelong tin the assemblage perpetually nutrient 50% much reddish cells? A roundtrip ngo to Mars would instrumentality astir 2 years, NASA estimated.

"If you are connected your mode to Mars and ... you can't support up" with the request to nutrient each those other reddish humor cells, "you could beryllium successful superior trouble," Trudel said.

Having less reddish humor cells successful abstraction is not a occupation erstwhile your assemblage is weightless, helium added. But aft landing connected Earth, and perchance connected different planets, anemia could impact astronauts' energy, endurance and strength.

A twelvemonth aft returning to Earth, the astronauts' reddish humor cells had not wholly returned to pre-flight levels, his squad reported connected Friday successful Nature Medicine.

Trudel besides studies the effects of immobility connected patients who are bedridden for weeks oregon months.

The caller findings mimic what helium sees successful his patients, helium said, which suggests that what happens successful abstraction whitethorn besides beryllium happening successful immobile patients.

"A solution to 1 could besides use to the other," helium said.

Sulekha Anand, who researches quality physiology astatine San Jose State University and was not progressive successful the study, agreed.

"The findings person implications for knowing the physiological consequences of abstraction formation and anemia successful patients connected the ground," she said.

Trudel's squad is studying ways to lick the problem, helium said.

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Reporting by Harikrishnan Nair; Editing by Nancy Lapid and Richard Chang

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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