Heavier astronauts have higher risk of post-flight eye changes

Bethesda,Md. (May31, 2018)–New research study recommends that changes in the eye that take place throughout spaceflight might be connected to just how much an astronaut weighs. The study is released ahead of print in the AmericanJournal of Physiology–Regulatory,Integrative and Comparative Physiology

Reduced gravity levels (microgravity) in space can result in spaceflight-associated neuro-ocular syndrome (SANS) in someastronauts SANS describes structural changes in the eye that might hinder vision, consisting of swelling of the optic nerve (optic disc edema) and colored imprints (choroidal folds) in the capillary network at the back of theeye Researchers now believe that just how much an individual weighs might contribute in these ocularchanges


OnEarth, the weight of the body’s tissues presses versus other physical structures (e.g., bones, muscles, organs, veins) producing compressive forces, which can impact pressures in capillary and in organs throughout the body. These compressive forces increase as body weight boosts. In microgravity, body tissue is weightless, so compressive forces versus the rest of the body are missing. People with more body tissue– and for that reason a higher body weight– are proportionately most likely to experience physiological changes in a low-gravity environment due to the fact that they experience a higher modification in these compressive forces, the scientists assumed.

The research study group analyzed information gathered by NASA from astronauts who had actually made long-duration space flights (averaging 165 days). The information consisted of the astronauts’ sex and pre-flight height, weight, waist and chest size, in addition to info about post-flight eyechanges The findings were connected to body weight, not body mass index. They discovered that none of the woman astronauts evaluated– who weighed less than the males– went back to Earth with signs of SANS. To dismiss sex distinctions as a cause for the variation, the scientists likewise took a look at the males’s information independently. “Pre-flight weight, waist circumference and chest circumference were all significantly greater in those who developed either disc edema or choroidal folds. This was still true when only the male cohort was analyzed,” the scientists composed. “The results from this study show a strong relationship between body weight and the development of ocular changes in space.”


Read the complete short article, “Microgravity-induced ocular changes are related to body weight,” released ahead of print in the American Journal of Physiology—Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology

KEEP IN MIND TO JOURNALISTS: To arrange an interview with a member of the research study group, please call the [email protected] APS Communications Office or 301-634-7209 Find more research study highlights in the APS Press Room.

Physiology is the research study of how particles, cells, tissues and organs work in health and illness. Established in 1887, the American Physiological Society (APS) was the very first U.S. society in the biomedical sciences field. The Society represents more than 10,500 members and releases 15 peer-reviewed journals with an around the world readership. .

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