1 Year, 6 Humans, Billions of Microbes


Do you think humans could be a multi-planetary species? What would need to happen to make that dream a reality? These questions have spurred scientific researchers to develop projects that explore logistics of human survival in outer space, especially in an isolated and confined environment (ICE) over time. One such project is the Hawai’i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS). This is a NASA and University of Hawaii funded simulation that is set up to imitate a base camp on Mars or the Moon. Several crewed missions have been run at this “base camp” – the longest, Mission IV, had six crew members live there for a year. Mission IV included several scientific experiments amongst different disciplines such as psychology, botany, physiology and microbiology.

Photograph by HI-SEAS Mission IV members Christiane Heinicke and Sheyna Gifford, 2015
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Here Is What Scientists Are Doing to Combat the Dangers of the Healthcare Environment

Understanding the role of microbes in our environment and how antimicrobial resistance and hospital acquired infections are spread in the healthcare environment are some of the highlights of modern science.

Our new environment

People living in the United States spend 90% of their time indoors (Klepeis et al 2016). We live in our homes, work in our office buildings, and spend recreational time in the gym. One such common indoor environment- where we  are born, and get treated for illnesses- is the hospital. How has this shift into the indoors impacted human health? Studies have linked this new environment to diseases like asthma and allergies (Fujimura et al 2014). In 2011, there were an estimated 722,000 hospital acquired infections in the U.S. (Magill et al 2014). And these infections- termed nosocomial infections- are reported as a  leading cause of patient deaths (Anderson 2002). Continue reading “Here Is What Scientists Are Doing to Combat the Dangers of the Healthcare Environment”