Anti-aging effects of long-term space missions, estimated by heart rate variability

Kuniaki Otsuka, Germaine G Cornelissen-Guillaume, Yutaka Kubo, Koichi Shibata, Koh Mizuno, Hiroshi Ohshima, Satoshi Furukawa, Chiaki Mukai

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5 Scopus citations


Reports that aging slows down in space prompted this investigation of anti-aging effects in humans by analyzing astronauts’ heart rate variability (HRV). Ambulatory 48-hour electrocardiograms from 7 astronauts (42.1 ± 6.8 years; 6 men) 20.6 ± 2.7 days (ISS01) and 138.6 ± 21.8 days (ISS02) after launch were divided into 24-hour spans of relative lower or higher magnetic disturbance, based on geomagnetic measures in Tromso, Norway. Magnetic disturbances were significantly higher on disturbed than on quiet days (ISS01: 72.01 ± 33.82 versus 33.96 ± 17.90 nT, P = 0.0307; ISS02: 71.06 ± 51.52 versus 32.53 ± 27.27 nT, P = 0.0308). SDNNIDX was increased on disturbed days (by 5.5% during ISS01, P = 0.0110), as were other HRV indices during ISS02 (SDANN, 12.5%, P = 0.0243; Triangular Index, 8.4%, P = 0.0469; and TF-component, 17.2%, P = 0.0054), suggesting the action of an anti-aging or longevity effect. The effect on TF was stronger during light (12:00–17:00) than during darkness (0:00–05:00) (P = 0.0268). The brain default mode network (DMN) was activated, gauged by increases in the LF-band (9.7%, P = 0.0730) and MF1-band (9.9%, P = 0.0281). Magnetic changes in the magnetosphere can affect and enhance HRV indices in space, involving an anti-aging or longevity effect, probably in association with the brain DMN, in a light-dependent manner and/or with help from the circadian clock.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8995
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 20 2019

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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