Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Protecting Muscles Of Astronauts

Date:
June 19, 2008
Source:
University of Kentucky
Summary:
As astronaut Garrett Reisman adjusts to Earth's gravity after three months in space, a University of Kentucky physiologist is continuing his tests on a 50-year-old drug used for liver treatments as a means of helping astronauts perform their work during space walks.

New research aims to prevent muscle weakness in astronauts and, eventually, patients, including heart failure and stroke patients.
Credit: Beth Goins, University of Kentucky

As astronaut Garrett Reisman adjusts to Earth’s gravity after three months in space, a University of Kentucky physiologist is continuing his tests on a 50-year-old drug used for liver treatments as a means of helping astronauts perform their work during space walks.

Michael Reid, chair of UK’s Department of Physiology and a founding member of the National Space Biomedical Research Institute, is researching the value of N-acetylcysteine (NAC) to limit the effect of free radicals made by muscle during heavy exercise.

His research, funded by the National Space Biomedical Research Institute, has particular value for astronauts who work in bulky space suits. "Astronauts report that six to eight hours of extra-vehicular activity is as exhausting as running a marathon. The muscle groups most affected are the hands and arms," he said.

NAC was developed in the late 1950s and has become a frontline drug in protecting the liver against drug overdose by scavenging free radicals.

"Free radicals also contribute to muscle fatigue," Reid said. His research has found that NAC "will improve endurance. Now we’re trying to determine the right dose and formulation" for space-travel purposes, he said.

Reid and his team also are concerned about muscle wasting that occurs during deep-space exploration, such as long-term stays on the moon and extended flights to Mars.

Astronaut Reisman knows first-hand the wasting effects of extended periods in low- or no-gravity situations, having just returned to earth from three months in the International Space Station.

"We’ve seen the muscles that astronauts use to stand and walk begin to waste away after a few weeks in Earth orbit. So we know nine months of travel to Mars poses a real risk," Reid said.

"At UK, we’re seeking nutritional or drug-based therapies to help the astronauts maintain muscle mass and strength," he said.

The research has potential ripples beyond space travel.

"If these nutritional strategies help astronauts, they’ll also help the elderly who suffer broken hips. We’re also working with heart-failure patients to determine possible benefits of NAC for them," Reid said.

The research also could benefit cancer patients who undergo chemotherapy, which has been found to have a direct impact on muscles, Reid said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Kentucky. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Kentucky. "Protecting Muscles Of Astronauts." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 June 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080619113055.htm>.
University of Kentucky. (2008, June 19). Protecting Muscles Of Astronauts. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080619113055.htm
University of Kentucky. "Protecting Muscles Of Astronauts." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080619113055.htm (accessed September 20, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

MIT BioSuit A New Take On Traditional Spacesuits

MIT BioSuit A New Take On Traditional Spacesuits

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The MIT BioSuit could be an alternative to big, bulky traditional spacesuits, but the concept needs some work. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Boeing, SpaceX to Send Astronauts to Space Station

Boeing, SpaceX to Send Astronauts to Space Station

AFP (Sep. 17, 2014) NASA selected Boeing and SpaceX on Tuesday to build America's next spacecraft to carry astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) by 2017, opening the way to a new chapter in human spaceflight. Duration: 01:13 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
East Coast Treated To Rare Meteor Sighting

East Coast Treated To Rare Meteor Sighting

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) Numerous residents along the East Coast reported seeing a bright meteor flash through the sky Sunday night. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Space Race Pits Bezos Vs Musk

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 16, 2014) Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' startup will team up with Boeing and Lockheed to develop rocket engines as Elon Musk races to have his rockets certified. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins