STATES CHRONICLE – Scientists at the Northwestern University claim that extensive space journeys proved to modify the gut bacteria of astronauts. The detailed study developed on Mark and Scott Kelly gave researchers the chance to observe what changes may occur during long spaceflights. The twins are not part of a unique and extensive human research.
The Northwestern team of scientists represents one of the ten research groups funded by NASA meant to study the difference between the Kelly twins. Specialists need to learn how astronauts’ bodies could be affected by extended periods of time in space, in microgravity. The results of these tests could help them reveal what they should expect in case Mars missions will happen.
Fred W. Turek, a professor of biology in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, claimed that the group of researchers had identified some physical changes which happen during spaceflights but disappear when astronauts get back home. Turek is one of the co-authors of the study.
Martha H. Vitaterna, the co-leader of the study and a research associate professor of neurobiology at Northwestern, noted that it is rather premature now to know exactly what these physical changes could mean. Researchers did not establish yet what exactly determines gut bacteria to alter. The group of scientists also made use of collaborators coming from the University of Illinois at Chicago and Rush University Medical School.
Turek stated that his team is bound to collaborate with all the other groups of researchers involved in the Twin Study to make sure they gather all the pieces and build the puzzle. They will all focus on accomplishing the same purpose, revealing which are the effects of extensive space journeys. The results of their study will guide them in future space missions, knowing exactly how their astronauts should be protected, guarding their health.
What is more, the study is also bound to help them boost ways of assuring human health on Terra. Turek had reported the results obtained by the preliminary research conducted by his team at NASA’s Human Research Program’s Annual Investigators’ Workshop, in Galveston, Texas. This represented the first meeting where all ten teams involved in the Twin Study managed to share different aspects regarding the physiology of the Kelly twins.
Vitaterna stated that her team was thrilled to have the chance to be part of this meeting where all teams shared their data with each other.
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