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Future Astronauts May Be Exposed To Alzheimer’s Risk Factor

This is a headline I saw on the medical news wire. Couldn’t resist a peep at it! It seems we’ve moved into the age of astro-medicine!

But there is an underlying hypocrisy here: apparently radiation in space is bad for you, but down here one Earth, scientists assure us, similar radiation from cell phones and wi-fi etc is quite safe. Is it just me or has everybody else spotted this creepy disconnect?

As NASA sets the stage for increasingly ambitious trips into space, new research highlights a potential hazard for astronauts on long-range missions: Alzheimer’s disease. The image of a doddery old fool in charge of the Starship Enterprise is mind boggling!

According to a new animal study published in the Dec. 31 issue of PLoS ONE, the kind of cosmic radiation exposure faced by those on board flights heading toward the far-flung reaches of the galaxy has the potential to speed up the onset of the neurological disease.

But apparently, radiation down here is no problem: cell phones and radiation are totally safe (Yeah, right!)

This study shows for the first time that exposure to radiation levels equivalent to a mission to Mars could produce cognitive [mental] problems and speed up changes in the brain that are associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

But not down here on Earth!

For the most, the bombardment is at a low enough level that short-term space travel is not overly concerning, the researchers say. The picture changes, however, when contemplating longer-term trips, such as one to Mars currently planned for 2035 and predicted to take about three years round-trip.

Long-term exposure is a risk (like years of cell phone use?)

The brains of exposed mice displayed telltale evidence of Alzheimer’s onset in the form of vascular alterations, as well as an uptick in the accumulation of a protein plaque called beta amyloid.

The study findings clearly suggest that exposure to radiation in space has the potential to accelerate the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

[SOURCE: PLoS ONE, news release, Dec. 31, 2012]

The post Future Astronauts May Be Exposed To Alzheimer’s Risk Factor appeared first on Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby.

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