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Thread: Salyut 7 Cosmonaut says spaceflight gave him cataracts

  1. #1
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    Salyut 7 Cosmonaut says spaceflight gave him cataracts


  2. #2
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    source: Pravda
    cataract: also occurs a lot to people who've never been in space

    So....I'd want to see evidence for the causal link

  3. #3
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    Quite.

    Does everyone who has flown in space have cataracts?

    No.

    Does everyone who HASN'T flown in space NOT have cataracts?

    No.

    Are the statistics between the two groups significantly different?

    I doubt it.


    Doug

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    Pravada, the source of the story, is very much a taboloid these days, full of refrences to decoding UFO codes, cyclops cats, etc..

    If you follow the links to the original it is full of tabloid speak like "Soviet cosmonauts burnt their eyes in space for USSR’s glory".

    Lebedev is now 66. What is the likelihood of cataracts at that age?

    Added in edit: According to Wikipedia, in the US, age-related lenticular changes have been reported in 42% of those between the ages of 52 to 64 and 60% of those between the ages 65 and 74. So the chance of Lebedev having some form of cataracts at his age seems very high. Of course the rapidity of onset and degree of degeneration might be unusal. But I wouldn't trust Pravada as a source for these. Anyway, cataracts are treatable, and I hope he gets it.

    Jon
    Last edited by JonClarke; 2008-Dec-25 at 10:41 PM. Reason: addtional info.

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    I read on the wikipedia page on Apollo evidence that many of the Apollo astronauts have gotten early onset cataracts from exposure to radiation, as have other astronauts on high radiation missions. And actually, whatever the cause, I remember reading in Maclean's magazine that cataracts are inevitable if you live long enough. And they are treatable, so this really is a very tabloidy act, making a mountain out of a molehill, to use a cliche.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ravens_cry View Post
    I read on the wikipedia page on Apollo evidence that many of the Apollo astronauts have gotten early onset cataracts from exposure to radiation, as have other astronauts on high radiation missions. And actually, whatever the cause, I remember reading in Maclean's magazine that cataracts are inevitable if you live long enough. And they are treatable, so this really is a very tabloidy act, making a mountain out of a molehill, to use a cliche.
    I don't consider Wikipedia as a credible source. Too many bogus edits and I see too many mistakes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by matthewota View Post
    I don't consider Wikipedia as a credible source. Too many bogus edits and I see too many mistakes.
    It is still a useful start. And if you have a better source then point to it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JonClarke View Post
    It is still a useful start. And if you have a better source then point to it.
    And I would if I did.

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    Don't you guys do ANY research before you 'opine'?
    Beyond Wikipedia, that is?
    And do you imagine that this hasn't been investigated?

    Radiation is known to be a cause of cataracts, and has been found to be significantly more common in atrsonauts and cosmonauts: http://www.springerlink.com/content/m5pcpbw5ram5fxb1/

    In the Beaver Dam Eye Study, 40% of those over 75 had a cataract: http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=2150247

    Please remember - this is a scientific MsB. You are required to provide evidence for your statements, or theories.

    John

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    Michael Collins said in Carrying the Fire that if he ever got cataracts he would try to blame his Gemini X flight.

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    Even if it's true, which I doubt, it wouldn't stop me from going into space.
    The greatest journey of all time, for all to see
    Every mission makes our dreams reality
    And our destiny begins with you and me
    Through all space and time, the achievement of mankind
    As we sail the sea of discovery, on heroes’ wings we fly!

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnD View Post
    Don't you guys do ANY research before you 'opine'?
    Beyond Wikipedia, that is?
    I have read moderately widely on the medical effects of spaceflight.

    Despite your sobbery with respect to Wikipedia, it is usually an excellent starting point. The numbers in the Wikipedia artricle I quoted were based on this paper http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7395962


    And do you imagine that this hasn't been investigated?
    No, I don't imagine this at all. Hence my request for more information.

    Radiation is known to be a cause of cataracts, and has been found to be significantly more common in atrsonauts and cosmonauts: http://www.springerlink.com/content/m5pcpbw5ram5fxb1/

    The abstract of this article, which is all that I can access for free, does not say this at all.

    A better source would be http://www.bu.edu/csp/EMMREM/papers/cataracts.pdf

    This study indicates a slight increase in catacract incidence of high exposure astronauts after a few years, reach a maximum of 20% increase in incidence after 25 years and decrewasing after that. However, out of a sample population of 295, only three required cataract surgery.

    My conclusion? Yes there is an increase, but severe cases are low. Certainly nothing would justify the "eyes burned out by spaceflight" language of Pravda

    In the Beaver Dam Eye Study, 40% of those over 75 had a cataract: http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=2150247
    This incidence is considerably lower than in the Framingham study. I have no idea why there is such a difference, except perhaps that there is considerable variability in terrestrial populations, or that different methodologies given different results. This may make conclusions of increased incidence among spacefarers very tentative, given the small sample size.

    Please remember - this is a scientific MsB. You are required to provide evidence for your statements, or theories.
    Hence my scepticism over a quote in Pravda, a gerneral statement based on overall reading round the subject, and a request for more information, followed by my own research independent of the discussion. Kindly do not accuse me of opining without some knowledge of the subject again.

    Jon

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    I think Wikipedia is an excellent resource, particularly if you pay attention to the source references, as Jon does.

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    [sorry, redundant link]

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    JohnD, I don't see how asking evidence in response to an article that doesn't give evidence or cite scientific sources would not be worthy of a scientific board. IMO it is the perfect scientific reaction. Researching it for yourself is nice if you have the time, but it is the task of the source making the claim to provide that evidence in the first place. Not the task of the people demanding the evidence. Make the claim, have the burden of proof, that stuff.

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    All I did was post the link.
    It shows that astronauts and cosmonauts are just as gullible as other humans to nonsense. Ed Mitchell for instance.

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    I wasn't referring to you Matthew, but to Pravda and even moreso the cosmonaut, who make the claim but cite no sources with evidence for that claim.

    I don't know whether it's true or nonsense. That's where evidence comes into play.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas View Post
    I wasn't referring to you Matthew, but to Pravda and even moreso the cosmonaut, who make the claim but cite no sources with evidence for that claim.

    I don't know whether it's true or nonsense. That's where evidence comes into play.
    Given Pravda's reputation, any connection between what Lebedev said and what he was quote as saying may be very tenuous indeed!

    Jon

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