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B. Studying The Aging Process In Space

Narrator: This is Science Today. The recent, historic space flight of former astronaut and retired U.S. Senator John Glenn will help scientists better understand the aging process. Kenneth Baldwin, a physiology professor at the University of California, Irvine says space travel produces physical symptoms similar to the aging process.

Baldwin: One of the primary experiences that astronauts encounter when they're in space, due to the fact that they're not able to exert force on their muscle systems is that the muscles do atrophy. And atrophy refers to a shrinkage of the muscle fiber. Protein is lost and along with the loss in muscle protein, is a loss in strength.

Narrator: Baldwin is helping NASA come up with effective muscle strengthening exercises which will not only help astronauts, but the general population as well.

Baldwin: The more that we can do to enhance the motor skills of an individual, the greater rewards as they get older in terms of being less prone to accidents and debilitating injuries.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.