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Studying the effects of ageing and immobility in space with Tim Peake


Uploaded on March 18, 2016


Studying the effects of ageing and immobility in space with Tim Peake

2016-03-18 - Astronauts on long-duration missions are at risk of many health problems related to accelerated ageing and immobility. 

ESA astronaut Tim Peake is taking part in the Canadian experiment MARROW that will study these effects to benefit astronauts and people on Earth who are bedridden or who have reduced mobility.

Supplies for MARROW will be launched to the ISS on the Cygnus spacecraft on March 22, 2016.  (Credits: Canadian Space Agency, NASA, University of Ottawa)


Tim Peake: Hello, this is Tim Peake and welcome on board the International Space Station!

Here in space, our bodies go through an accelerated form of ageing. Thankfully, most of the side effects are reversible when we return to Earth. This makes space the perfect place to study the effects of ageing and immobility.

One of the experiments on board right now is a Canadian Space Agency study called MARROW, which is led by Dr. Guy Trudel and Dr. Odette Laneuville of the University of Ottawa. MARROW is designed to help understand how microgravity affects our bone marrow.

When we are sedentary—and there are fewer forces acting on our bones, like up here in space—our bone marrow produces more fat cells and less red blood cells. It also affects how our white blood cells function. This can lead to anemia, susceptibility to infections and increased sensitivity to radiation. 
MARROW is monitoring the bone marrow of 10 astronauts using magnetic resonance images, MRI, taken before and after their six-month stay in space, as well as breath and blood samples taken before, during and after their flight.

MARROW will give scientists a better understanding of how fat and blood cells interact in our bone marrow. This knowledge could help to protect astronauts in space, to combat the effects of physical inactivity on Earth, and to benefit bedridden patients or people with reduced mobility and seniors.


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