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Astronauts anticipate more trips to the moon and manned missions to Mars.But exposure to cosmic radiation outside Earth's magnetic field couldbe detrimental to their arteries, according to a study by University of Alabama at Birmingham researchers published April 6, 2011, online in the journal Radiation Research.

Using an animal model, researchers assessed the affect of iron ion radiation commonly found in outer space to see if exposures promoted the development of atherosclerosis, as terrestrial sources of radiation are known to do. They observed that cosmic radiation accelerated the development of atherosclerosis, independent of the cholesterol levels or circulating white blood cells of the mice. It also worsened existing atherosclerotic lesions.

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Category: Science