A scientific study published in the journal Nature Medicine points out that space anemia will be one of the biggest obstacles faced in trips to Mars. Researchers at the University of Ottawa, Canada, collected blood samples from 14 astronauts and identified that thereHumans lose red blood cells faster in space than on Earth.
In the study entitled: Hemolysis contributes to anemia during long-duration space flight. The researchers claim that the rate of red blood cell destruction can increase by up to 54% in space.
The 14 astronauts participating in the study spent six months on the International Space Station. Through blood samples and breath (expiration through the mouth in a collection bag), the intensity of the loss of red blood cells, which are responsible for carrying oxygen molecules to the body, was studied.
Space anemia persists on Earth
One of the authors of the research, Guy Trudel, head of the bone and joint research laboratory at the Ottawa hospital, says that the accelerated destruction of red blood cells happens throughout the astronaut’s mission. There were also no differences in the rates of destruction between red blood cells produced on Earth and those produced in space – according to the study in 120 days in space, all red blood cells will already be produced in space. In addition, study participants remained with space anemia, even a year after returning to Earth.
The study also concludes that long-term missions, such as to the Moon and Mars, in addition to space tourism will need a better understanding of space-induced anemia. “If we can explain what exactly causes this anemia, then there is potential to treat or prevent it,” comments Trudel.
One of the hypotheses raised for the cause of spatial anemia would be an effect of the hemolytic action of microgravity in space. However, the authors state that despite confirming the accelerated destruction of red blood cells, Further studies are needed to understand the physiology of space anemial.
The study by researchers from Ottawa, Canada, published in Nature Medicine can be accessed in full by clicking here.
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