Researcher Seeks to Protect Muscles of Astronauts

Michael Reid, chair of UK’s Department of Physiology and a founding member of the National Space Biomedical Research Institute, is researching the value of N-acetylcysteine (NAC) to limit the effect of free radicals made by muscle during heavy exercise.

His research, funded by NASA, has particular value for astronauts who work in bulky space suits. “Astronauts report that six to eight hours of extra-vehicular activity is as exhausting as running a marathon. The muscle groups most affected are the hands and arms,” he said.

NAC was developed in the late 1950s and has become a frontline drug in protecting the liver against drug overdose by scavenging free radicals.

“Free radicals also contribute to muscle fatigue,” Reid said. His research has found that NAC “will improve endurance. Now we’re trying to determine the right dose and formulation” for space-travel purposes, he said.

Reid and his team also are concerned about muscle wasting that occurs during deep-space exploration, such as long-term stays on the moon and extended flights to Mars.

Astronaut Reisman knows first-hand the wasting effects of extended periods in low- or no-gravity situations, having just returned to earth from three months in the International Space Station.

“We’ve seen the muscles that astronauts use to stand and walk begin to waste away after a few weeks in Earth orbit. So we know nine months of travel to Mars poses a real risk,” Reid said.

“At UK, we’re seeking nutritional or drug-based therapies to help the astronauts maintain muscle mass and strength,” he said.

The research has potential ripples beyond space travel.

“If these nutritional strategies help astronauts, they’ll also help the elderly who suffer broken hips. We’re also working with heart-failure patients to determine possible benefits of NAC for them,” Reid said.

The research also could benefit cancer patients who undergo chemotherapy, which has been found to have a direct impact on muscles, Reid said.

In striving to become a Top 20 public research institution, the University of Kentucky is a catalyst for a new Commonwealth – a Kentucky that is healthier, better educated, and positioned to compete in a global and changing economy. For more information about UK’s efforts to become a Top 20 university, please go to http://www.uky.edu/OPBPA/Top20.html

Media Contact

Dan Adkins newswise

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.uky.edu/OPBPA/Top20.html

Alle Nachrichten aus der Kategorie: Health and Medicine

This subject area encompasses research and studies in the field of human medicine.

Among the wide-ranging list of topics covered here are anesthesiology, anatomy, surgery, human genetics, hygiene and environmental medicine, internal medicine, neurology, pharmacology, physiology, urology and dental medicine.

Zurück zur Startseite

Kommentare (0)

Schreib Kommentar

Neueste Beiträge

Scientists achieve higher precision weak force measurement between protons, neutrons

Through a one-of-a-kind experiment at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, nuclear physicists have precisely measured the weak interaction between protons and neutrons. The result quantifies the weak…

High-performance single-atom catalysts for high-temperature fuel cells

Individual Pt atoms participate in catalytic reaction to faciitate the electrode process by up to 10 times. Single-atom Pt catalysts are stable at 700 degrees Celsius and expected to stimulate…

New method allows precise gene control by light

A novel optical switch makes it possible to precisely control the lifespan of genetic “copies”. These are used by the cell as building instructions for the production of proteins. The…

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close