Why do some people get rashes in space? There’s a clue in astronaut blood

A new study suggests that reduced activity of 100 immune-related genes may be causing rashes and infections in astronauts.

Key findings: Researchers found that the immune-related genes become less active in space, potentially allowing opportunistic infections to occur in astronauts.
* The blood of 14 American and Canadian astronauts was sampled before, after, and during their time on the International Space Station for the study.
* The decrease in gravitational force could be causing changes in astronauts’ blood and immune system response.

Implications: Understanding the cause of vulnerability to infections in space could lead to safer missions for astronauts and better treatments for immunocompromised individuals on Earth.
* Study findings may also have potential applications in situations like transplant patients or individuals experiencing extreme stress or physical environments.

Long-term impact: As space missions extend further and return times increase, developing countermeasures for space travel stresses on the immune system becomes crucial for astronaut health and safety.

View original article on NPR

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