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Source: University of Waterloo

Snakes (and humans) In Space lecture to explain impacts of weightlessness on people

October 11, 2006

(Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2006) -- A former scientist from NASA will explain how
humans can counteract the physiological effects of weightlessness during a
lecture entitled Snakes In Space.

Alan R. Hargens, a NASA scientist for over 20 years and currently a
professor in the department of orthopaedic surgery at the University of
California, San Diego, will deliver the lecture at 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday,
Oct. 17, in room 1621 of the University of Waterloo's Lyle S. Hallman
Institute for Health Promotion.

Hargens has been studying various models -- including snakes -- to help
people understand the possible benefits of centrifuge systems for
maintaining cardiovascular and skeletal structure and function in space. He
is a leader in examining the role of different types of exercise and
centrifuge countermeasures to keep astronauts healthy during long stays on
the International Space Station (ISS) and on future trips to the moon and

"Prof. Hargens has an excellent perspective on how to translate research
from human space travel into applications that could benefit all of us on
Earth," said Richard Hughson, a UW professor of kinesiology. "He works
directly with orthopaedic surgeons using what he has learned about the
heart, muscles and bones to develop better rehabilitation programs."

The lecture will provide insight into the benefits of physical activity and
the risks of inactivity for healthy aging of the heart, muscles and bones.

Hargens received his doctorate in marine biology/physiology from the Scripps
Institute and has held positions that include chief of space physiology at
the NASA Ames Research Center and project scientist for the ISS Centrifuge

His research has taken him from the depths of the sea, to South America and
Africa, and into outer space. He brings the special knowledge gained from
this integrative approach to the practical delivery of health care for knee
surgery and other orthopaedic problems as well as maintaining the health of
the crew on the ISS.

This lecture is presented as part of the Hallman Visiting Professorship
Lecture Series organized by UW's faculty of applied health sciences.

This lecture is open to the public and admission is free. People are
encouraged to confirm their attendance by e-mailing carchiba at or calling 519-888-4567 ext. 32010.



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