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Just like love, space can be hard on the heart

Ah, Valentine’s Day — a holiday that can certainly take its toll on the human heart. But there’s some small solace for those whose hearts are aching instead of humming today: at least you’re not in space.

Just like love, space isn’t very kind to the heart. In fact, the organ actually changes shape after being in microgravity for a long time for a variety of reasons. On Earth, the heart hangs in the chest and takes on a somewhat oblong shape because it’s constantly pulled down by gravity. But in space, that gravity is effectively gone — and the heart adjusts. “It no longer hangs there, and the heart becomes more spherical in nature,” Michael Bungo, a cardiologist at the University of Texas Medical School who has studied the effects of…

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