Space experts to converge on Waterloo
June 10, 2014, Waterloo, Ont. - Astronauts and space researchers attending the inaugural Aging in Space for Life on Earth Symposium at the University of Waterloo will hear for first time that some astronauts' arteries are stiffer when they return from six months in space.
These new findings, presented by Waterloo kinesiology professor and Schlegel Research Chair in Vascular Aging Richard Hughson, are part of a four-day symposium exploring how results from spaceflight research can benefit life on earth. For the first time, one day of the symposium — Tuesday, June 17, 2014 — will be dedicated to the science of aging in space.
More than 200 international researchers and 3 astronauts, including former Canadian astronaut Bob Thirsk, European Space Agency astronaut Reinhold Ewald, and Japanese astronaut Chiaki Mukai who flew in space with John Glenn will be in attendance.
Other findings set to be shared at the symposium include how spaceflight revealed a new mechanism for salt storage that now has been linked to auto-immune diseases, and how cells in astronauts' bone marrow might turn to fat — a phenomenon that can affect sedentary people on earth.
"Space flight allows us to examine changes in bones, muscles and arteries that would normally take years to develop on earth. Many of the changes in astronauts' bodies have direct links to aging and chronic disease. Spaceflight research has great potential to improve life on earth," said Professor Hughson.