Life’s circumstances can inspire research project ideas. For example, after running the Boston Marathon, a female athlete flew back home to Seattle and developed a blood clot or venous thrombosis. The runner’s sister, who is an exercise scientist in kinesiology, started searching for answers.
Initial literature reviews in 2010 showed that Associate Professor Beth Taylor, the exercise scientist, might be on to something. Studies seemed to suggest that a combination of risk factors, which includes flying long distances after endurance exercise and using estrogen-based oral contraceptives, had the potential to make women more susceptible to blood clots. As a result, several UConn research projects ensued with Taylor as one of the investigators.
Blood clot risk factors in women
NASA Connecticut Space Grant Consortium supplied some of the funding. Kinesiology 4th year doctoral candidate Amanda Zaleski received a $20,000 fellowship from them to test the hypothesis that active women in flight are at risk for blood clots.
NASA is especially interested in what flying, with its cabin pressure, confined spaces, compression of veins and reduced movement, does to the body. In addition, the agency has a goal to examine any evidence of barriers or workplace challenges negatively impacting women, who are at or want to work for NASA. (more…)