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bone loss in space: shuttle/mir experience and bed rest countermeasure programLoss of bone mineral during space flight was documented in the 1970's Skylab missions. The USSR space program made similar observations in the 1980's. The Institute of Biomedical Problems in Moscow and NASA JSC in 1989 began to collect pre- and post-flight bone mineral density (BMD) using Hologic QDR 1000 DEXA scanners transferred from JSC to Moscow and Star City. DEXA whole body, hip, and lumbar spine scans were performed prior to and during the first week after return from 4- to 6-month missions (plus one 8-month mission and one 14- month mission) on the Mir space station. These data documented the extent and regional nature of bone loss during long duration space flight. Of the 18 cosmonauts participating in this study between 1990 and 1995, seven flew two missions. BMD scans prior to the second flight compared to the first mission preflight scans indicated that recovery was possibly delayed or incomplete. Because of these findings, NASA and IBMP initiated the study "Bone Mineral Loss and Recovery After Shuttle/Mir Flights" in 1995 to evaluate bone recovery during a 3-year post-flight period. All of the 14 participants thus far evaluated lost bone in at least one region of the spine and lower extremities during flight. Of the 14, only one to date has exhibited full return to baseline BNM values in all regions. The current study will continue until the last participant has reached full bone recovery in all regions, has reached a plateau, or until three years after the flight (2001 for the last mission of the program). Bone mineral density losses in space and difficulty in returning to baseline indicate a need for countermeasure development. In late 1996 NASA JSC and Baylor College of Medicine were approved to conduct two countermeasure studies during 17 weeks of bed rest. In 1997 the studies were begun in the bed rest facility established by NASA, Baylor College of Medicine, and The Methodist Hospital in Houston. To date, three bed rest controls, five resistive exercisers, and four subjects taking alendronate (a bisphoshonate that inhibits osteoclastic resorption of bone) have completed 17 weeks bed rest. In contrast to information currently available from space flight (n=28) and bed rest (n= 12) in which all individuals experienced bone loss in at least one region, one of four subjects taking alendronate and one of five subjects performing heavy resistive exercise at bed rest fully maintained bone density in all regions of the spine and lower extremities. Overall results of both countermeasures which will be presented are encouraging. The study will be completed by mid to late 2000 with 10 subjects in each of three groups.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Shackelford, L. C.
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX United States)
LeBlanc, A.
(Baylor Coll. of Medicine Houston, TX United States)
Feiveson, A.
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX United States)
Oganov, V.
(Institute of Biomedical Problems Moscow, USSR)
Date Acquired
August 19, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1999
Publication Information
Publication: Proceedings of the First Biennial Space Biomedical Investigators' Workshop
Subject Category
Aerospace Medicine
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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IDRelationTitle20000020485Analytic PrimaryProceedings of the First Biennial Space Biomedical Investigators' Workshop
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