Moon dust and severe hypertension                               Spaceflight 49:276, 2007.

Sir,
Thomas Jefferson, America's third president, wrote in 1816: "The most sacred of the duties of a government is to do equal and impartial justice to all its citizens".

In conjunction with Apollo 15, why were the extraordinarily elevated blood pressures of Irwin (>275/125 after three minutes of exercise on a bicycle stress test at a work load of 155 watts, heart rate 130), not included in the biomedical evaluation of Apollo 15? [1]
It was assumed by me that this stress test was conducted after the Apollo 15 mission since it is inconceivable that Irwin would have been sent on his way to the Moon with such extraordinary blood pressure levels.
Of 55 pages of data I acquired through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) no date was provided! If the dates were withheld to prevent publication 35 years later, this effort was in vain [2] - a 35 year loss of the opportunities of countless investigators to explore the etiological factors involved in triggering this extraordinary blood pressure level.
During a 20 year period, having supervised over 5000 symptom- limited stress tests at a hospital-based EKG laboratory, I have never witnessed such extraordinary blood pressure levels, nor have I witnessed during a stress test "cyanotic fingernails" that were observed during a stress test on the day of Irwin's return, associated with a blood pressure of 140/85 at rest, peaking to 210/90.
These events are consistent with injuries to the lining of both the arterial and venous blood vessels (endothelium) supporting my Apollo 15 Space Syndrome. [2]
It has been a year since I requested from NASA through the (FOIA) the stress test data and chemistries of both Irwin and Scott, to determine why Apollo 15 was considered an "anomaly" by NASA - i.e., why both astronauts experienced significant heart rhythm disturbances during the mission, and impairment in heart function and cardiac recovery - when there were no similar complications associated with the other five Apollo missions.
NASA partially complied with my request regarding Irwin but refused to provide Scott's data since he is still alive.
I have postulated that the cardiovascular complications of Apollo 15 could have been the result of inhalation of ultra-fine (< 100 nm) dust in the lunar module, brought in with the space suits and "sticking to everything like Velcro", with exposure to this dust in the case of Apollo 15 for a total of 48 hours.
Furthermore to account for the fact that these cardiovascular complications were limited to Apollo 15, I postulated that this may be explained by the known variations of the geochemistry and particle size of the various landing sites. [2]
In the past decade there have been numerous publications showing that urban dust inhalation can cause oxidative stress, triggered by elevations of adrenaline, additional vessel constrictors, inflammatory peptides and insulin resistance with each also precipitated by space flight as well.
Therefore these complex processes, conducive to endothelial injuries, could be intensified by lunar dust inhalation in the Lunar Module [2]. But hypertension among astronauts, active or inactive is unusual (five percent), whereas on Earth hypertension exists in at least 25 percent of the population by age 35.
In addition to - in most cases - a careful selection process, the explanation for this discrepancy may be related to the report by a Harvard University group of investigators [3] who have emphasised that although inhalation of urban dust is conducive to significant hypertension, as shown in humans in as early as with just two hours of exposure [4], some studies have shown on Earth little or no effect in raising blood pressures and they have postulated that this may be due to the fact that a major agent, which limits blood pressure elevations (atrial natriuretic peptide, ANP) can be significantly increased.
But with space flight, ANP has been shown to be reduced [5] which can be a complication of microgravity with an invariable reduction by 10-15 percent in the plasma volume [6] and a deficit of magnesium ions required for the release of ANP. [7]
This may be the explanation for Irwin's extraordinary blood pressure levels upon return(8,9), but his blood pressure was also elevated prior to lift-off (145/110 at rest, for example).
However, to support my hypothesis - which has been published for the first time in the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society [2] - Commander Scott's data is required. It is unfortunate that NASA feels obligated to wait until death before releasing vital information through the FOIA.

William J. Rowe FBIS
Virginia, USA


References
1. Apollo 15 Mission Report , NASA MSC 05161, Manned Spacecraft Center, Houston, Texas, Dec. 1971.
2. W.J. Rowe, Moon Dust May Simulate Vascular Hazards of Urban Pollution, JBIS, 60, pp.133-136, 2007.
3. G.A. Wellenius, B.A. Coull, J.J Godleski, et al, Inhalation of concentrated ambient air particles exacerbates myocardial ischemia in conscious dogs, Environ. Health Perspect, 111, pp.402-408, 2003.
4. B. Urch, F. Silverman, P. Corey, et al, Acute Blood Pressure response in healthy adults during controlled air pollution exposures, Environ Health Perspect, 113, pp.1052-1055, 2005.
5. A. Roessler, H. Hinghoffer-Szalkay, V. Noskov, et al, Diminished plasma c GMP during weightlessness, J Gravit Physiol, 4, pp.101-102, 1997.
6. O.Y. Atkov, V.S. Bednenko, Hypokinesia and weightlessness: clinical and physiologic aspects, International Universities Press, Madison, pp.1-67, 1992.
7. N.L.M. Wong, Hu DCK, E.F.C. Wong, Effect of dietary magnesium on atrial natriuretic peptide release, Am J Physiol, 261, (Heart Circ Physiol 30) pp.H1353-1357, 1991.
8. M.A. Costa, L.V. Gonzalez Bosc, M.P. Majowicz, et al. Atrial Natriuretic peptide modifies arterial blood pressure through nitric oxide pathway in rats, Hypertension, 35, pp.1119-1123, 2000.
9. K.F. Lin, J. Chao, L. Chao, Human atrial natriuretic peptide gene delivery reduces blood pressure in hypertensive rats. Hypertension, 26, (part 1),pp.847-853, 1995.