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Hadfield readjusting to Earth life

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MONTREAL -- Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield is having a tough time getting around on terra firma after spending five months floating around the International Space Station.

Raffi Kuyumjian, the Canadian Space Agency's chief medical officer and Hadfield's flight surgeon, says the three-time space traveller currently feels like an old man.

The CSA issued an update on the health of the 53-year-old space veteran Wednesday, two days after his return to Earth.

Kuyumjian described some of the temporary problems Hadfield is dealing with as he readjusts to gravity. They include shuffling his feet when he walks, soreness in his back, difficulty walking around corners and even bumping into corners.

The physician said in a statement his patient feels dizzy and finds it challenging to walk up or down stairs. Also, his manual dexterity is off.

"Although he does not feel it, his hip and back bones are not as dense as before his flight since they lost calcium in weightlessness," Kuyumjian said. "This is similar but not as severe as the osteoporosis that affects the elderly, since Chris will likely recover most of that bone density loss in about a year."

Hadfield's experience will help collect data in the hope of better treating such effects. Hadfield, who is in Houston for tests, will meet the media today for the first time since his return to Earth.

 

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 16, 2013 A2

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