"New research published online in the FASEB Journal suggests that a specific enzyme, called 5-lipoxygenase, plays a key role in cell death induced by microgravity environments, and that inhibiting this enzyme will likely help prevent or lessen the severity of immune problems in astronauts caused by spaceflight. Additionally, since space conditions initiate health problems that mimic the aging process on Earth, this discovery may also lead to therapeutics that extend lives by bolstering the immune systems of the elderly."
Keith's note: When NASA flew John Glenn on his second space mission, much mention was made of the possible connections between aging on Earth and effects observed in astronauts and other organisms in space. Indeed, one of NASA's biggest PR thrusts has always been the applicability of space-based research (especially biotech) upon life back on Earth. Well, here is one example. Interestingly, FASEB, which published this research, has a long history of often criticizing NASA's human space life science program. So there must be something to this research, right?
You'd think that NASA, CASIS etc. would be playing up these results, right? No. Not at all. Just silence. You see, NASA no longer tracks this sort of news (but they used to). Nor do NASA and CASIS seem to have the collective or individual smarts to understand that the best way to garner support for future ISS research is to stay current with the benefits of past research - and tell everyone exactly what the benefits of that research is - as soon as that knowledge becomes available.
Oh yes, full disclosure: 15 years ago (ouch!), I heaped my fair share of criticism on NASA for John Glenn's flight (see below). While there is no obvious connection between these new research results and the experiments conducted on Glenn's shuttle flight, it would seem that Sen. Glenn (apparently) still knew something that I did not ...