Medicine doesn’t work properly in space
2011 04 18

By Alasdair Wilkins | io9.com


Here’s one more unexpected challenge for space travel: drugs crucial for treating everything from a mild headache to a serious infection don’t work properly in the radically different environment away from Earth...and yes, radiation might be part of the problem.

On Earth, medicine can generally remain effective for about two years, as long as it’s stored correctly. Proper storage generally involves keeping it away from direct sunlight and in a cool, dry space. But there are plenty of conditions that we take for granted on Earth that are nothing like those we find in space, where "radiation, excessive vibrations, microgravity, a carbon dioxide rich environment and variations in humidity and temperature" are all potential issues.

To figure out what effect all that might have on medicine, the researchers sent up four boxes of drugs containing 35 different medications up to the International Space Station. At the same time, they kept the same set of drugs in ideal conditions at the Johnson Space Center. The space drugs came back at different times - some just a couple weeks later, some more than two years later - but they all consistently showed reduced effectiveness at much faster rates than if they had remained on Earth.

This means that Earth-made medicines may not be useful on long-term space missions, such as a first crewed mission to Mars. In all likelihood, the drugs will need to be modified to take into account the vastly different conditions of space. Still, space drugs can have their advantages, as Dr. Colin Cable, the science information adviser at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, explains:

"On Earth, medicines are tested to assess the effects of, for example, temperature, moisture, oxygen and light, and are packaged and stored to ensure they remain stable and effective over their shelf life. Repackaging of medicines into containers that do not give the medicines the protection required to moisture, oxygen and light can have a detrimental effect on their stability. One potential benefit of keeping medicines in a Space Station is that the medicines will be exposed to a carbon dioxide-rich environment, this may help minimise the degradation of those medicines prone to oxidation, such as adrenaline, vitamin C and vitamin A."


Article from: io9.com




Related Articles
American Society of Aerospace Medicine Specialists
Drugs lose effectiveness in space
Gagarin: The 50th anniversary of human space flight
NASA tests Mars space suit in Argentine Antarctica
Embryonic Idea: Human Procreation in Space Would Be Perilous


Latest News from our Front Page

Norway Joins the Race to Develop Killer Robots
2014 10 24
Norway is a large exporter of weapons, which makes the resolution of the debate about creating killer robots an important issue for everyone.  One could debate the overall merits or failings of robotic systems, but an area that clearly has become a point for concern on all sides is the emergence of "killer robots." According to robotics pioneer, David Hanson, ...
Gene That Once Aided Survival in the Arctic Found to Have Negative Impact on Health Today
2014 10 23
In individuals living in the Arctic, researchers have discovered a gene variant that arose thousands of years ago and most likely provided an evolutionary advantage for processing high-fat diets or for surviving in a cold environment; however, the variant also seems to increase the risk of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, and infant mortality in today’s northern populations. {snip} “Our work ...
The Ebola hoax: questions, answers, and the false belief in the “One It”
2014 10 23
“The Reality Manufacturing Company doesn’t just sell ‘fake paintings’ that are easy to spot. No. They also sell images that are geared to mesh with people’s deeply held instincts and thereby produce rigid false beliefs. People are sure that if they gave up such beliefs, their world would fall apart and blow away in the wind.” ...
New Controversial Theory Suggests "Hobbits" Were Not Human - Who Were These Mysterious Beings?
2014 10 23
The origin of the Hobbit species remains a challenging subject to scientists. The Hobbit’s discovery confirmed the view that the Earth was once populated by many species of human, but new research the Hobbit’s were not human at all! So, who were these mysterious beings? Where did they come from? The idea that our species, Homo sapiens, was the only species of human on ...
Right into enemy hands? ISIS shows off new weapons allegedly airdropped by US (VIDEO)
2014 10 23
Islamic State has published a new video in which a jihadist shows off brand-new American hardware, which was purportedly intended for the Kurds they are fighting in the Syrian border town of Kobani. The undated video, posted by the unofficial IS mouthpiece “a3maq news”, sees a jihadist showing several boxes of munitions with English-language markings, with a parachute spread out on ...
More News »