Obesity, Twins and Space…

I am PLODDING through revision. I looked over a lecture today on obesity and it discussed obesity in twins…

It got me thinking about an investigation NASA has planned to do with twins in space which you may/may not know about. NASA will embark on a year- long mission in March 2015 when they send Scott Kelly to the International Space Station and his twin brother Mark will remain on Earth. As a medic (who is currently revising genetics…) I find this really interesting as they are going to be studying the effect of different environments on two people with the same genes for a whole year.

The project has 10 different investigations for this study of the effect of microgravity on the human body. The psychological and physiological tests will be conducted on both of the twins before, during and after the mission. The 10 investigations are from 10 institutions from 7 states and include research like:

-Looking at the effect of a flu vaccination and how space (radiation, weightlessness etc…) will affect the immune system.

-Differential effects on telomeres and telomerase in twin astronauts associated with spaceflight.

-Comprehensive whole genome analysis of differential epigenetic effects of space travel on monozygotic twins.

We always have those “nature vs nurture” debates and this programme will be so interesting to show a glimpse into this question a bit more through molecular, physiological, microbiological and behavioral studies.

I was privileged enough to have met one of the twins when I went to NASA a few years back, and so I am really looking forward to seeing what the results show from this in years to come. Whilst I revise MCD I can only dream that I could one day be involved in projects like this. Until then, I will continue to “stick to” my revision timetable. News articles like this though are making revising a lot more interesting and a lot more current and real.

Adios amigos, hope you are having a nice Easter and are enjoying the “space” away from Uni.

Mala Mawkin


P.S. You can catch me in the imperial prospectus 2015! What am I like…

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