Health : what is the mission of Thomas Pesquet looking for ?

That brings the trip into space Thomas Pesquet to the medicine ? Several researchers from Inserm and the Centre national d’études spatiales (CNES) were gathered within the Institute of France, Tuesday, October 10, to try to answer this question,in the presence of an astronaut French. In the course of his mission of six months in the international space Station (ISS), Thomas Pesquet has suffered with other astronauts a battery of tests the medical to understand the reaction of their body to the conditions of weightlessness and acceleration.

“The acceleration of the aging process in space to better understand how certain diseases form to find medical solutions”, explains Yves Lévy, CEO of Inserm. More particularly, this aging “is accelerated for certain organs and parts of the body, particularly the bones,” adds Laurence Vico, a researcher at the Inserm and specialized in the research around the bone tissue. “In weightlessness, the astronauts see the osteocytes (cells responsible for the activities of formation and resorption of bone) die prematurely.” And this pushes the Inserm focus its research on the use of “hypergravity”. “It is becoming more. It is already testing the level of gravity of 2G of rodents with a platform system of hypergravity”, adds the scientist. This method could be used to improve the condition of patients suffering from osteoporosis.

The other part of the body affected by aging in space and a microgravity environment : the heart. The team of Pierre Boutouyrie, a cardiologist at the Inserm, was able to realize in studying the responses of heart of Thomas Pesquet during his trip.

Benefits for telemedicine and radiation therapy ?

The space mission is also an interest in optical developments in medical technology. “If we can pass from the space-to-earth individual data in telemedicine, that can help to improve the transfer of medical data to health professionals to 200-300 km in france”, explains Yves Levy. Of what to potentially find solutions to the problems of connections in some medical deserts where the fiber is sorely lacking…

The other item, the data obtained in the field of radiation therapy. As explained, Nicolas Foray a member of the Inserm specialized in radiology, the radioactivity in the area is two times larger than the largest measured on earth. Can the organization adapt ? Following the journey of Thomas Pesquet and other astronauts, he believes that, despite the short duration journey, “it can be assumed that the human body can adapt to, at least in part”.

If for the moment it is still too early for researchers to make advances in concrete, Yves Lévy recalls that the previous space trips have made significant contributions to medicine. They have “contributed to the development of heart pumps, and of the knowledge essential on the ultrasound, the development of ultrasound scanners to be more powerful and also pacemakers”.

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