Space missions turn the hearts of astronauts into a sphere

Space missions turn the hearts of astronauts into a sphere

When astronauts spend long periods of time in space, their hearts become more spherical, says a new study. This is another additional item on the list of potential hazards that may arise during a mission to Mars.

The new results, conducted by NASA's space agency and based on the observations of 12 astronauts who worked at the International Space Station, were presented at the 63rd annual scientific session of the American College of Cardiology in Washington, Red Orbit reported.

“The heart cannot work with complete dedication in outer space, which can lead to loss of muscle mass,” says senior author James Thomas, MD, in his report. "This can have serious consequences after returning to Earth, so we are puzzled by what can be done to prevent or neutralize this loss." In the new study, astronauts use ultrasound machines that are on board the ISS to photograph and provide data on their hearts before, during and after space flights. The results showed that the heart becomes more spherical with a factor of 9,4 percent, which may mean that the body works less efficiently in places with low gravity. The long-term health effects resulting from this effect are currently unknown.

Scientists hope to use the results of the study to see how a space flight lasting 18 months or longer will affect the health of the astronauts.

Thomas said that the spherical shape of the heart returns to normal after astronauts return to Earth.

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