Author Topic: Apollo astronauts did suffer from radiation effects  (Read 219 times)

Offline Obviousman

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Apollo astronauts did suffer from radiation effects
« on: April 15, 2019, 04:43:31 PM »
This is probably old news, since it was dated back in July 2016, but it was news to me: Apollo astronauts were suffering a higher rate of cardio-vascular disease than the normal population, and it is attributed to the radiation exposure.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/07/160728102206.htm

Anyone know if there has been any update to this?


Offline raven

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Re: Apollo astronauts did suffer from radiation effects
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2019, 07:55:07 PM »
Apollo astronauts (and other astronauts on higher radiation exposure missions) also suffer high incidence of early onset cataracts.
I don't know anything more of cardiovascular disease incidence, however.

Offline Glom

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Re: Apollo astronauts did suffer from radiation effects
« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2019, 09:56:20 AM »
That's not the way it works. Radiation fries you instantly or it does nothing.

It's like on Star Trek when the computer says, "lethal radiation exposure in 60 seconds," by which it means you'll be absolutely fine for another 60 seconds and then you drop dead.

Offline bknight

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Re: Apollo astronauts did suffer from radiation effects
« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2019, 11:34:10 AM »
This is probably old news, since it was dated back in July 2016, but it was news to me: Apollo astronauts were suffering a higher rate of cardio-vascular disease than the normal population, and it is attributed to the radiation exposure.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/07/160728102206.htm

Anyone know if there has been any update to this?

I'm not a number cruncher, but it seems to me like a small population, astronauts, is then further diminished by beyond LEO to arrive at a theory of cardio-vascular disease.  One in particular that comes to mind was Jim Irwin.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Irwin
Developed an irregular heart beat (Irwin's heart had developed bigeminy), but the doctors thought since he was in a 100% O2 environment he would be ok.
Subsequently
Irwin suffered three major heart attacks. One occurred less than two years after Apollo 15, when Irwin was 43, while he was playing handball. Irwin suffered another heart attack in 1986, when he collapsed during a run and was found pulseless on a curb. Doctors from NASA doubted the incidents were related to space travel, and noted that pre-flight testing indicated a tendency for cardiac arrhythmias during strenuous exercise.

The doctors changed the liquid intake for A16 with more Tang(?) for both John and Charles.  They were supposed to drink more to help the condition that Jim faced.

So all in all figures never lie, but liars(pun intended) always figure.

Since Jay new most I not all the Lunar astronauts, perhaps he could add some history.
Truth needs no defense.  Nobody can take those footsteps I made on the surface of the moon away from me.
Eugene Cernan

Offline Dalhousie

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Re: Apollo astronauts did suffer from radiation effects
« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2019, 06:40:00 PM »
This is probably old news, since it was dated back in July 2016, but it was news to me: Apollo astronauts were suffering a higher rate of cardio-vascular disease than the normal population, and it is attributed to the radiation exposure.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/07/160728102206.htm

Anyone know if there has been any update to this?

There is a lot of voodoo science on effects of space radiation.   This appears one of them. Peer review and independent studies have been very critical of it. https://pubpeer.com/publications/28976568184E8C7FF4FB248F6B488C

For example Cucinotta et al. 2016 (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2214552416300566) say

Previous analysis has shown that astronauts have a significantly lower standardized mortality ratio for circulatory disease mortality compared to the U.S. population, which is consistent with the rigorous selection process and healthy lifestyles of astronauts, and modest space radiation exposures from past space missions. However, a recent report by Delp et al. estimated the proportional mortality ratio for ages of 55–64 y of Apollo lunar mission astronauts to claim a high risk of cardiovascular disease due to space radiation compared to the U.S. population or to non-flight astronauts. In this Commentary we discuss important deficiencies in the methods and assumptions on radiation exposures used by Delp et al. that we judge cast serious doubt on their conclusions.

Unfortunately counter examples and critiques of radiation hysteria papers rarely get the media attention. They' much rather say that space is too dangerous.


Offline Dalhousie

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Re: Apollo astronauts did suffer from radiation effects
« Reply #5 on: April 18, 2019, 04:36:29 AM »
Apollo astronauts (and other astronauts on higher radiation exposure missions) also suffer high incidence of early onset cataracts.
I don't know anything more of cardiovascular disease incidence, however.

The paper can be found here: http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.456.6362&rep=rep1&type=pdf

I see a number of issues with it. 

1) It compares cataract incidence in the astronauts who have received less than 8 mSV and those who received more. Not between astronauts and the wider population. 

2) The 8 mSv dose is a very low threshold.  An average rotation to the ISS gets ~120 mSv for example. Admittedly this paper dates from 2001 with the only data from Apollo (33 with 14 mSv), Skylab (9 with 87 mSv), Shuttle-Mir (7 with 91 mSv). This is shown in Table 3. They have not used the extensive Soviet/Russia data from their Salyut and Mir flights.

3) The sample size is quite small.  Only 49 "high" dose out of 295 small

4) For context it's worth looking at this report of an Australian study https://www.aihw.gov.au/news-media/media-releases/2005/jul/cataract-in-nearly-one-third-of-older-australians. While the data is not presented in the same way It appears that 31% of Australians over 55 suffer from cataracts and 70% of Australians aged 80 or over have the disease.

5) Lastly it would be interesting to see the cataract incidence in places with high natural radiation. These include Ramsar in Iran (400 mSv/year), Guarapari Beach in Brazil (788 mSv/year) and parts of the Lodeve Valley in France (up to 875 mSv/year). Over a 70 year life span a Ramsar resident will experience a cumulative dose of 28 Sv

Offline Echnaton

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Re: Apollo astronauts did suffer from radiation effects
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2019, 07:07:01 PM »
I am unclear on how radiation contributes to cardio-vascular disease. One might also think that the general population is not the best comparison. Rather, one might look at test pilots of the era as the control. 
The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new. —Samuel Beckett

Offline Dalhousie

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Re: Apollo astronauts did suffer from radiation effects
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2019, 12:51:11 AM »
I am unclear on how radiation contributes to cardio-vascular disease. One might also think that the general population is not the best comparison. Rather, one might look at test pilots of the era as the control.

That's just one of the problems with the Delp paper.

The are many possible  controls that you can use for cataracts.  The problem is getting one that is numerous, well documented, and has low radiation exposure. The general populace seems appropriate to me.

Offline Obviousman

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Re: Apollo astronauts did suffer from radiation effects
« Reply #8 on: April 19, 2019, 07:11:50 PM »
This is probably old news, since it was dated back in July 2016, but it was news to me: Apollo astronauts were suffering a higher rate of cardio-vascular disease than the normal population, and it is attributed to the radiation exposure.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/07/160728102206.htm

Anyone know if there has been any update to this?

There is a lot of voodoo science on effects of space radiation.   This appears one of them. Peer review and independent studies have been very critical of it. https://pubpeer.com/publications/28976568184E8C7FF4FB248F6B488C

For example Cucinotta et al. 2016 (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S2214552416300566) say

Previous analysis has shown that astronauts have a significantly lower standardized mortality ratio for circulatory disease mortality compared to the U.S. population, which is consistent with the rigorous selection process and healthy lifestyles of astronauts, and modest space radiation exposures from past space missions. However, a recent report by Delp et al. estimated the proportional mortality ratio for ages of 55–64 y of Apollo lunar mission astronauts to claim a high risk of cardiovascular disease due to space radiation compared to the U.S. population or to non-flight astronauts. In this Commentary we discuss important deficiencies in the methods and assumptions on radiation exposures used by Delp et al. that we judge cast serious doubt on their conclusions.

Unfortunately counter examples and critiques of radiation hysteria papers rarely get the media attention. They' much rather say that space is too dangerous.



Ah! Thank you. I am aware of the expertise that Frank Cucinotta has in this field, and what he says has great sway with me.

Perhaps I should change the title of this thread?