Study Shows Over Half of Astronauts Have Eye Issues after Long Spaceflights.

an interesting article from the leading stories section of the American
Optometric Association Newsletter.

Shows Over Half of Astronauts Have Eye Issues after Long Spaceflights.

The ABC News  (3/13, Potter, Sunseri) website reports how
NASA is finding that astronauts are having sometimes permanent eye issues after
they return from space. University of Texas Health Science Center researchers
have “done MRIs on 27 astronauts who spent more than month in space, and
reports in the journal Radiology that 60 percent have what, on the ground,
would be called intracranial hypertension — high fluid pressure in the
skull.” Team leader Larry Kramer said this result could have implications
for people on Earth. However, this “looming issue” does not have an
easy solution since with those unaffected appearing “immune” to the
problem Kramer “said there was no guessing what would protect some but not
        AFP   (3/13),
which goes into more detail on the findings, notes “fifteen percent had a
bulging optic nerve and 11 percent showed changes to the pituitary gland —
which is located between the optic nerves, secreting sex hormones and
regulating the thyroid — and its connection to the brain.” William
Tarver, chief of the flight medicine clinic at the Johnson Space Center, said,
“NASA has placed this problem high on its list of human risks, has
initiated a comprehensive program to study its mechanisms and implications, and
will continue to closely monitor the situation.” However, Tarver
“said the findings are suspicious but not conclusive of intracranial
hypertension, and said no astronauts have been rendered ineligible for future
spaceflight.” The UK’s The Guardian  (3/13, Sample) also covers the story.


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