3 Apollo Astronauts Have Died Of Heart Problems, And New Study Tries To Figure Out Why
While radiation is one of the big concerns when monitoring the health of those who have traveled in deep space, some researchers are questioning if there's also a connection to cardiovascular problems.
The Washington Post:
Studying Heart Disease In Astronauts Yields Clues But Not Conclusive Evidence
When James Irwin suffered his first heart attack at age 43 — just two years after walking on the moon — NASA doctors dismissed any connection with his trip to space, during which he had experienced short spells of irregular heart rhythm. "They noted that pre-flight testing had shown Mr. Irwin to be prone to slight uneven heartbeats on occasion after exercise," according to the New York Times. But then Irwin died of a heart attack in 1991, when he was just 61. A year earlier, fellow Apollo astronaut Ron Evans died of a heart attack in his sleep at age 56. And Neil Armstrong died after complications from cardiovascular surgery in 2012. He was 82. (Kaplan, 7/28)
The New York Times:
Study Asks If Moon Astronauts Got Increased Heart Risks
Only 24 people have ever gone to deep space, or to the area beyond the Earth’s magnetic shield. These are the Apollo astronauts who flew to the moon, the last of whom did so in 1972. Today, dreams of deep space exploration are surfacing again. Government space programs and private corporations alike have their eyes set on returning to the moon for longer visits and venturing beyond, to Mars, in the coming decades. Michael Delp, a professor of human sciences at Florida State University, said researchers need to better understand and study the effects of deep space travel on the human body. (Yin, 7/28)