Current Research

Lifetime Surveillance of Astronaut Health (LSAH)

The Lifetime Surveillance of Astronaut Health (LSAH) is a proactive occupational surveillance program for the astronaut corps to screen and monitor astronauts for occupational related injury or disease. The LSAH program examines the incidence of acute and chronic morbidity and mortality of astronauts, and defines the risks of morbidity and mortality associated with the occupational exposures encountered by astronauts. From the evidence obtained, individually tailored follow-up medical examinations will be designed to track the astronaut population more rigorously and capture sub-clinical medical events. This enables systematic evaluation of astronauts to detect potential health problems at an early state and to facilitate action to prevent the development or progression of occupationally-related diseases. Statistical analyses and reports generation are conducted to support clinical care and occupational surveillance, Space Medicine operations and countermeasure effectiveness assessment. Active surveillance for outcomes of particular interest shall be conducted. Operational investigations shall be conducted as needed to support the following activities:

1) population-based clinical care and occupational surveillance, including evaluation of exposure histories and follow-up based on clinical protocols
2) active surveillance for conditions of interest
3) Space Medicine operations and countermeasure effectiveness assessment
4) analyses supporting development of requirements for human-rated vehicles
5) the Human Research Program gap assessment
6) transition to operations assessment.

The LSAH Repository (LSAH-R) was established to implement a research component to enable analysis of astronaut medical data. The LSAH-R research proposal has been approved by the JSC IRB. Informed consent for use of medical data for research purposes shall be obtained from NASA astronauts. The LSAH-R will support research studies through epidemiologic analyses, data exploration and data visualization techniques.

Limitations of the Data: The primary goal for collecting the data is for clinical purposes, rather than a research study. The data content is driven by crew surgeon need – the data may list outcome (e.g. “normal”) rather than a specific value, the data may not always be collected for each crew member, or the data may be taken under different circumstances (e.g. an astronaut returning on a Soyuz may have different test dates or even types of test than an astronaut returning on a Shuttle).

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