Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Travel to Mars, deform your pituitary gland...

Todays papers have been awash with the news that astronauts may suffer side effects from spending long periods of time in space; specifically, their eyesight may be damaged due to effects which appear similar to intracranial hypertension; i.e. increased pressure in the head. Their eyeballs have literally changed shape, making them more longsighted - which, in the case of those astronauts who started off with short sight, has actually improved their vision.

In pituitary-relevant news (which this blog is always excited about), doctors examined 27 astronauts who each had a cumulative total of at least 30 days in space, and of those 27, three were found to have slightly deformed pituitary glands. I have struggled to find any more details on exactly how their pituitaries were "slightly deformed"; I presume that their pituitary glands may have become somewhat flattened along the interior walls of the sella turcica cavity. And although that sounds suspiciously precise coming from me, I promise I'm not making shit up; that's what happens in primary empty sella syndrome, which can be a sign of intracranial hypertension.

Shit, where'd I leave my glasses?

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