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Noclevername
2015-Jul-07, 06:15 PM
If the human immune system is not regularly and variously stimulated, it tends to atrophy. This leaves the person open to any new mutation or opportunistic infection that comes along.

Since a long range space journey or stay in an ET base involves a significant period of isolation, the immune systems of the people involved will likely be weakened. Is there a way to mitigate this effect?

Swift
2015-Jul-07, 08:35 PM
If the human immune system is not regularly and variously stimulated, it tends to atrophy.
Does it? You may be correct, but I've never heard this. I know that components of the immune system have to be initially exposed to "things". I know that some vaccines become less effect over time, but the ones that have to be readministered are like every 10 years.

Noclevername
2015-Jul-07, 10:53 PM
Does it? You may be correct, but I've never heard this. I know that components of the immune system have to be initially exposed to "things". I know that some vaccines become less effect over time, but the ones that have to be readministered are like every 10 years.

I was thinking of the people posted at isolated posts like the Antarctic stations, and the Skylab crews. I recall (incorrectly?) that on returning to larger society after long stays, they often fall ill with minor colds and such.

Noclevername
2015-Jul-08, 02:49 AM
As far as vaccinations, they are for the big, virulent diseases. I'm talking about the small stuff we are exposed to every day just by living among people.

FarmMarsNow
2015-Jul-08, 08:21 PM
In another thread someone brought up the point that if people do settle somewhere off-planet, they are likely to develop un-Earthly contagions that will likely cause them to be quarantined. The only long term way to guarantee no need for quarantine may be to regularly cross-contaminate settlement and Earth. We send them regular packets of microbes, and they return samples to us which we release into Earth's environment, except when there has obviously been a contagious disease. We don't ship anything obviously dangerous, of course.

DaveC426913
2015-Jul-08, 08:32 PM
If the human immune system is not regularly and variously stimulated, it tends to atrophy. This leaves the person open to any new mutation or opportunistic infection that comes along.

Since a long range space journey or stay in an ET base involves a significant period of isolation, the immune systems of the people involved will likely be weakened. Is there a way to mitigate this effect?

I assume you mean 'when they return home' or 'when new passengers arrive on a subsequent flight'. Because, if they don't, then there's nothing new to infect them.

Yes, if you isolate a population long enough, they will begin to diverge. Not only will the bacterial and viral ecosystem diverge, but the species will diverge too. Give it long enough and they will be unable to interbreed. That's why you want to have regular restocking trips from Earth, so both these things can stay in sync.

DaveC426913
2015-Jul-08, 08:36 PM
...except when there has obviously been a contagious disease. We don't ship anything obviously dangerous, of course.
As soon as you decide not to contaminate one population, you're creating a time bomb.

What you'd want to do is keep the quarantine only until a cure is found, then you must again restore homeostasis of the ecology between the two populations.

Noclevername
2015-Jul-08, 09:51 PM
I assume you mean 'when they return home' or 'when new passengers arrive on a subsequent flight'. Because, if they don't, then there's nothing new to infect them.
What about what they bring with them, mutating into a new strain?




Yes, if you isolate a population long enough, they will begin to diverge. Not only will the bacterial and viral ecosystem diverge, but the species will diverge too. Give it long enough and they will be unable to interbreed. That's why you want to have regular restocking trips from Earth, so both these things can stay in sync.

How long would it take to diverge the microbiology to a dangerous level?

DaveC426913
2015-Jul-09, 12:51 PM
What about what they bring with them, mutating into a new strain?
No different than how it happens here on Earth.



How long would it take to diverge the microbiology to a dangerous level?
No different than how it happens here on Earth.

Noclevername
2015-Jul-09, 12:59 PM
No different than how it happens here on Earth.


No different than how it happens here on Earth.

And people die of those new strains, here on Earth.

Noclevername
2015-Jul-09, 01:14 PM
My point is, whether on Earth or not, small isolated population groups face the same immunological challenges. I'm trying to find out just what the limits of those challenges are, and how to avoid or minimize them.