Not by LAURAN NEERGAARD
a SETH BORENSTEIN
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) – Nearly a year in space, Scott Kelly's immune system gave a high warning astron that changed the activity of some of the genes compared to twins exactly the same as ground, and researchers said last week.
Scientists do not know if the changes were good or bad, but the results of a unique NASA twin study raise new questions to doctors as the space agency aims to send people to March.
Genetic doubling tests gave scientists a chance to track human biology details, such as how genes and astrones turn on and off in space differently than at home. One definite change was announced at a recent science conference: the Kelly immune system was reproduced.
"As if the body were responding to this alien environment, something like you would be a mysterious organism in your surroundings," says genetician Christopher Mason of Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, and helped lead the study. He said that doctors are now looking for that in other astronauts.
Since the start of a space examination, NASA has studied tolls on the bodies of the astronauts, such as bone loss that requires a rehearsal exercise. They are usually in space about six months at a time. Kelly, who was living on the International Space Station, spent 340 days in space and set an U.S. record.
"I've never felt absolutely normal in space," said Kelly, who has now retired, in an email to The Associated Press, identifying the usual congestion of moving fluid, headache and difficulty concentrating on extra carbon dioxide, and compounds of microgeneration.
But this study was a unique plumbing to the molecular level, with the old star Mark Kelly, Scott nails, on earth. Full results have not yet been published, but researchers presented some findings at a recent meeting of the American Society for Forward Science.
Many genes related to the immune system were reproductive, says Mason. It does not change in DNA but in what is known as "gene expression," how genes turn off and increase or reduce their protein production. Mason also saw a spike in the bloodstream of another busy margin of the immune system. Yet at the same time, Kelly's blood showed less other type of cell that was an early defense against viruses.
It's not surprising that gen activity would change in space – it's changing in response to all types of stress.
"You can see the body adapting to the change in its environment," said Mason.
The good news: Most of all returned to normal files soon after Kelly returned to Earth in March 2016. Those genes that were related to immunity, however, were "similar of having this memory, or this needs to be a very precise warning "even six months later, Mason said.
"Overall, it's encouraging," said Craig Kundrot, who is looking for life and science research for NASA. "There are no big warning signs. We see changes that we did not necessarily predict" but I do not know if those changes are relevant.
From four Russians living in space for more than a year, NASA already knows that a long time off Earth is possible, says Kundrot, adding, "We also aim for more than just possible . We want astronauts to do more than just survive. "
Ultimately, the study twice gives NASA a catalog of things to monitor future trips to see if other astronauts respond in the same way. Astronauts on future trips will be able to do some of these tests in space instead of freezing samples to scientists back home, says Mason.
Immune issues sound familiar with Dr. Jerry Linenger, American astronomers who spent more than four months at the Russian space space Mir. He said he was never ill in orbit, but after he came back to the Earth "I was probably more sick than I was in my life."
Astronauts are being launched to orbit with their own germs and become exposed to their crumatics germs and then after a week with nothing else in the "very unfavorable environment" of a space station "your immune system is not is really being challenged, "said Linenger.
Kundrot, a human mission to Mars, said NASA hopes to launch in the 2030s, taking 30 months, including face time.
Radiation is a big concern. The mission would reveal astronomers to galactic cosmetic radiation levels higher than the NASA safety standard itself. It's just a bit over, "he said.
On Earth and even on the space station, the Earth's magnetic fields depict much scripture of radiation. There would be no withdrawal on the road to Mars and back, but tunnels or habitats with cattle could help a bit on the Mars, Kundrot said.
Kelly, who turns 55 years next week said he would go to Mars. He said that a long journey would be "no worse than what I tested. Possibly better I believe that the big physical challenge, radiation of a devotion, will be a mission where you are in place for years. "
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