Can a gagging sensation endure 19 miles high? Researchers at the University of Cincinnati have been studying the effects of space travel on the human gut. A new study found that astronauts who experienced the bends, or decompression sickness, were more prone to developing severe ileus, or pain.
The researchers are looking for a solution to such an untimely endpoint. Aside from the fecal matter that can build up in space, there could be other influences at play. “As we get farther into space and higher above the planet, it can get a little bit more difficult to stay over, and it could be more difficult to keep going,” said Marta Brown, a study lead author and associate professor of human nutrition at the University of Cincinnati.
Eventually, medical professionals may be able to convert the sensation of ileus into a mild, mild sickness. That will free up the astronauts’ stomach to dig deeper for food.
If it works, astronauts may no longer be required to eat just a gallon of water each day. Some have even suggested sending people to Mars who can help avoid ileus and other potentially hazardous symptoms of space travel by inducing it on their own. The experiment would even be of use to people standing on the surface of the moon, so that they aren’t subjected to sudden gut upsets after a long excursion to Mars.
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