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Don't Get Sick In Space

Illustration for article titled Dont Get Sick In Space

Muscle atrophy, radiation, micro meteorites...the list of maladies that can harm or kill astronauts is a long one. Sadly, it appears as though it just got one item longer.

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According to scientists at the Johnson Space Center, the new problem facing future space explorers—perhaps on a Mars mission or beyond—is that drug effectiveness declines at a faster rate in space.

Chief amongst the drugs that lose effectiveness during prolonged spaceflight are paracetamol (headache med) and antibiotics. The worst case scenario is clear: Should an astronaut get an infection on a trip to Mars, the antibiotics that work so well on Mother Earth would not work so well on the long haul through the unforgiving ether of space.

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Further research is necessary, or so the usual science story caveat goes, including whether or not other diseases that are readily treatable on Earth get a second wind in space because their corresponding medication loses its punch as well. Thirty-five meds were tested on the ISS already, and most saw their effectiveness reduced during a variety of 13-day and 28-month stays. Not good! [BBC]

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DISCUSSION

So the medication sat there on the space station for a long time and when they were used they had a lesser effect?

This already happens on the ground. How much of a difference could there be? I'm betting it's not much, (but it makes for a good shock headline/article).

So, yeah. Just bring more medication. Problem solved.