Research Article

The NASA Twins Study: A multidimensional analysis of a year-long human spaceflight

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Science  12 Apr 2019:
Vol. 364, Issue 6436, eaau8650
DOI: 10.1126/science.aau8650

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What to expect after a year in space

Space is the final frontier for understanding how extreme environments affect human physiology. Following twin astronauts, one of which spent a year-long mission on the International Space Station, Garrett-Bakelman et al. examined molecular and physiological traits that may be affected by time in space (see the Perspective by Löbrich and Jeggo). Sequencing the components of whole blood revealed that the length of telomeres, which is important to maintain in dividing cells and may be related to human aging, changed substantially during space flight and again upon return to Earth. Coupled with changes in DNA methylation in immune cells and cardiovascular and cognitive effects, this study provides a basis to assess the hazards of long-term space habitation.

Science, this issue p. eaau8650; see also p. 127