"RESULTS OF SPACE TESTS OUT SOON" - OPINION
[Dr. Lee Wei Lim, a a Marie Curie Fellow and Malaysian brain scientist in Maastricht University, the Netherlands, has several queries on today’s Star report "Results of space tests out soon" re: Angkasawan Dr. Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor.
[Dr. Lee’s comments (in bold) accompanies the Star report viz:]
PENANG: The results of experiments carried out in space by Angkasawan Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor will be released next month.
The experiment was carried out at the International Space Station or in the “Space” ?
The results of various experiments with proteins and the effects of micro-gravity and space radiation on cells and microbes would be shared with international researchers soon, the country’s first cosmonaut said during the closing of Brain Awareness Week 2008 at Universiti Sains Malaysia yesterday.
How can an Orthopaedic surgeon carry out protein research in the field of molecular biology? Why do we have to focus on space radiation on cells and microbes since we are living on the earth? How does this contribute to the science?
“I have spoken to the scientists and researchers involved in the project and they said the results will be published soon – in about a month’s time,” he said, when responding to questions by students attending his talk on Brain in Space: Our New Frontier.
The results will be published in which international peer reviewed journal? What is the significant scientific background of it?
His talk on the “Brain in Space”, is he qualified to speak about that? Has he been trainned as a neuroscientist? Does he have strong background on the brain? Please see www.pubmed.com and type in “Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor”, no scientific publication related with the brain!
Asked why the experiments had to be carried out in space, the 35-year-old orthopaedic surgeon said it was because zero gravity allowed the specimens to be studied in their 3D form.
Just because to study the specimens in 3D dimension?? Would it be too costly? First of all, how can an orthopardic surgeon involves in scientific neuroscience research? What is the link between the brain and bone (orthopaedic)? Similarly, would you send a dermatologist to study the brain?
“Zero gravity allows specimens to be studied in 3D form”, why did this study have to be carried out in the “space” or the space station just for the cell 3D form investigation? In fact, on the earth, we have such “vacuum chamber model” to carry out research on the morphology of cells with “confocal microscopy”, “two-photon microscopy” or “electron microscopy” approach, this will give us even a better control view of the cells in terms the cell morphological changes and technical manipulation aspect. And again, how can an orthopaedic surgeon carry out such complicated and high technique on cells manipulation in the “space”? Is he a cellular biologist? Please look at the Harvard University website on Neurobiology.
“If studied on earth under a microscope, the cells would have been flattened slightly because of the effects of gravity. In space, we can view the specimens as if they were in the human body,” he explained, adding that he was keen on returning to medical practice.
And again, the research was carried at the “International Space Station” or in the “Space”, there is a clear distinction between these two!
Cell flattened??? Please see my previous opinion on vacuum chamber model.
What type of cell did he want to study? What is the hypothesis and scientific support for such a huge cost of investment? “In space, we can view the specimens as if they were in the human body,” based on which scientific publication to support this notion of sentence?? If so, how about carry out such experiment in the vacuum chamber (low cost) of zero gravity with better manipulation on the cells and more scientifically grounded?
“I miss seeing my patients and being in the operating theatre. I also hope to one day find the cure for cancer,” he said.
Miss seeing patients? When a person left his medical career for more than 5 years, is he still eligible to perform his clinical works efficiently? May be, he is exemption.
To find cure for cancer? What is the link between his work in space and cancer as well as the brain?
The experiments were conducted while he was on the International Space Station. On Oct 10, Dr Sheikh Muszaphar made history by becoming the first Malaysian to fly to space.
The experiment was conducted at the International Space Station and not in the “Space”? What sort of experiment? Why can’t it be carried out in the scientific laboratory, with lower cost, more reliable internationally-accepted methods for scientific publication? He is an orthopaedic surgeon with no scientific publication in brain and cellular research, how on earth he knew the works of a professional histologist or cell biologist or brain scientist?
Later, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak launched the book Reaching for the Stars, which was written by Sheikh Mustapha, also known as Ajil, the late brother of Dr Sheikh Muszaphar.
The book is Ajil’s personal account of Dr Sheikh Muszaphar’s journey from the time he was short-listed, trained, and selected as Malaysia’s first astronaut to his journey into space late last year.
But Ajil had a fall and slipped into a coma while his brother was still in space and died days after Dr Sheikh Muszaphar’s safe return to earth.