Human heart in space: What can we learn from mathematical modeling

October 08, 2020

Human spaceflight has been fascinating man for centuries, representing the intangible need to explore the unknown, challenge new frontiers, advance technology and push scientific boundaries further. A key aspect of long-term human spaceflight is the physiological response and the consequent microgravity (0G) adaptation, which has all the features of accelerated aging involving almost every body system: muscle atrophy and bone loss, onset of balance and coordination problems, loss of functional capacity of the cardiovascular system.

A research published in recent days in npj Microgravity - a prestigious journal of the Nature group "Cardiovascular deconditioning during long-term spaceflight through multiscale modeling") - and conducted by Caterina Gallo, Luca Ridolfi and Stefania Scarsoglio shows that human spaceflight reduces exercise tolerance and ages astronauts' heart.

The study is based on a mathematical model which allowed to investigate some spaceflight mechanisms inducing cardiovascular deconditioning, that is the adaptation of the cardiovascular system to a less demanding environment.

Understanding 0G configuration is crucial to ensure the full health and well-being of astronauts in view of the now imminent missions to the Moon and Mars. Moreover, since spaceflight deconditioning has features similar to accelerated aging, gravitational physiology may lead to useful insights to delay or prevent the modern lifestyle medical disorders related with living longer.

The proposed study compared the cardiovascular response in microgravity (0G) conditions with what happens on Earth: several hemodynamic parameters - such as cardiac work, oxygen consumption and contractility indexes, as well as arterial pressure - were reduced. Exercise tolerance of a spaceflight traveler was found to be comparable to an untrained person with a sedentary lifestyle. At the capillary-venous level significant waveform alterations were observed which can modify the regular perfusion and average nutrient supply at the cellular level.

"Present findings" professor Scarsoglio observes "are useful to design future long-term spaceflights, individuate optimal countermeasures and understand the state of health of astronauts when prompt physical capacity at the time of restoration of partial gravity (e.g., Moon/Mars landing) is required".
-end-


Politecnico di Torino

Related Health Articles from Brightsurf:

The mental health impact of pandemics for front line health care staff
New research shows the impact that pandemics have on the mental health of front-line health care staff.

Modifiable health risks linked to more than $730 billion in US health care costs
Modifiable health risks, such as obesity, high blood pressure, and smoking, were linked to over $730 billion in health care spending in the US in 2016, according to a study published in The Lancet Public Health.

New measure of social determinants of health may improve cardiovascular health assessment
The authors of this study developed a single risk score derived from multiple social determinants of health that predicts county-level cardiovascular disease mortality.

BU study: High deductible health plans are widening racial health gaps
The growing Black Lives Matter movement has brought more attention to the myriad structures that reinforce racial inequities, in everything from policing to hiring to maternal mortality.

Electronic health information exchange improves public health disease reporting
Disease tracking is an important area of focus for health departments in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

E-health resource improves men's health behaviours with or without fitness facilities
Men who regularly used a free web resource made significantly more health changes than men who did not, finds a new study from the University of British Columbia and Intensions Consulting.

Mental health outcomes among health care workers during COVID-19 pandemic in Italy
Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and insomnia among health care workers in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic are reported in this observational study.

Mental health of health care workers in china in hospitals with patients with COVID-19
This survey study of almost 1,300 health care workers in China at 34 hospitals equipped with fever clinics or wards for patients with COVID-19 reports on their mental health outcomes, including symptoms of depression, anxiety, insomnia and distress.

Health records pin broad set of health risks on genetic premutation
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Marshfield Clinic have found that there may be a much broader health risk to carriers of the FMR1 premutation, with potentially dozens of clinical conditions that can be ascribed directly to carrying it.

Attitudes about health affect how older adults engage with negative health news
To get older adults to pay attention to important health information, preface it with the good news about their health.

Read More: Health News and Health Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.