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Bone Loss During Spaceflight: Available Models and Counter-MeasuresThere is ongoing concern for human health during spaceflights. Of particular interest is the uncoupling of bone remodeling and its resultant effect on calcium metabolism and bone loss. The calculated average loss of bone mineral density (BMD) is approximately 1-1.5% per month of spaceflight. The effect of decreased BMD on associated fractures in astronauts is not known. Currently on the International Space Station (ISS), bone loss is managed through dietary supplements and modifications and resistance exercise regimen. As the duration of space flights increases, a review of the current methods available for the prevention of bone loss is warranted. The goal of this project is to review and summarize recent studies that have focused on maintaining BMD during exposure to microgravity. Interventions were divided into physical (Table 1), nutritional (Table 2), or pharmacologic (Table 3) categories. Physical modalities included resistance exercise, low level vibration, and low intensity pulsed ultrasound. Nutritional interventions included altering protein, salt, and fat intake; and vitamin D supplementation. Pharmacologic interventions included the use of bisphosphonates and beta blockers. Studies reported outcomes based on bone density determined by DXA bone scan, micro-architecture of histology and microCT, and serum and urine markers of bone turnover. The ground analog models utilized to approximate osseous physiology in microgravity included human patients previously paralyzed or subjects confined to bedrest. Ground analog animal models include paralysis, immobilization and ovariectomies. As a result of the extensive research performed there is a multi-modality approach available for the management of BMD during spaceflight that includes resistance training, nutrition and dietary supplements. However, there is a paucity of literature describing a formalized tiered protocol to guide investigators through the progression from animal models to human patient ground analogs to experiments on the ISS. With regards to testing, further evaluation to determine the association between non-invasive tests and fracture during and after spaceflight needs to be performed.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Morris, Jonathan (Montefiore Medical Center Bronx, NY, United States)
Bach, David (Barrios Technology, Inc. Houston, TX, United States)
Geller, David (Montefiore Medical Center Bronx, NY, United States)
Date Acquired
June 11, 2015
Publication Date
July 7, 2015
Subject Category
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
ISS R&D Conference(Boston, MA)
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.

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