Riding in space on the top of a rocket is something that very few people ever get the opportunity to do. It's a dangerous journey, but the payoff is something that those of us who spend our entire lives here on solid ground can not possibly comprehend.
In one of the more bizarre but nevertheless interesting reports that come out of NASA this year, researchers reveal that over half of astronauts who have spent time in space have experienced herpes flare-
The research, which was published in Frontiers in Microbiology used biological samples collected from astronauts before their space missions, while in space, and then again after their returns to Earth. As a result of what causes herpes viruses to reactivate in astronauts who have some form of it in the past, researchers have few ideas.
"During spaceflight there is an increase in secretion of stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, which are known to suppress the immune system, "senior author Dr. Satish K. Mehta of NASA said in a statement. "In keeping with this, we find that astronaut's immune cells ̵
There are plenty of factors to play here, and the researchers suggest that dramatic lifestyle changes while embarking on space missions – warped day / night cycles, social isolation, etc – ramp up astronauts' stress levels and suppress immune response.
Of the dozens of astronauts found to have herpes virus flare-ups from their space trips, only six of them actually experienced symptoms. Viral reactivation occurred in the others but did not produce symptoms reported by the astronauts