Researchers from Western University are looking into information that could possibly help female astronauts have better health while space travelling.
Professor Gregor Reid, and Camilla Urbaniak, PhD student, are investigating the ways microbes can influence the health of a female’s body.
Studies have been done in the past on how to improve or how different astronaut health is, but only studies on men in the 1970s.
The researchers are currently looking at diseases such as inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, and cancer.
“We wanted to take this a step further and look at how microbes might change in response to microgravity,” Urbaniak explained, “and how probiotics might help to reduce the risk of certain diseases.”
Urbaniak believes that probiotics could be taken into space to improve health while travelling.
However, drugs affect the female and male bodies very differently, so separate studies need to be conducted.
“It’s not a far stretch to assume that these differences would also be kept in space,” Urbaniak said, “and that male and female astronauts would have the same differences as on earth.”
Health challenges that affect women include urinary tract infections, osteoporosis, breast cancer, and comprised vaginal health.
Ubraniak says she will be working with NASA this summer, on work connected to her research.