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Exercise Countermeasures for Bone Loss During Space Flight: A Method for the Study of Ground Reaction Forces and their Implications for Bone StrainEffective countermeasures to prevent loss of bone mineral during long duration space flight remain elusive. Despite an exercise program on MIR flights, the data from LeBlanc et al. (1996) indicated that there was still a mean rate of loss of bone mineral density in the proximal femur of 1.58% per month (n=18, flight duration 4 - 14.4 months). The specific mechanisms regulating bone mass are not known, but most investigators agree that bone maintenance is largely dependent upon mechanical demand and the resultant local bone strains. A plausible hypothesis is that bone loss during space flight, such as that reported by LeBlanc et al. (1996), may result from failure to effectively load the skeleton in order to generate localized bone strains of sufficient magnitude to prevent disuse osteoporosis. A variety of methods have been proposed to simulate locomotor exercise in reduced gravity. In such simulations, and in an actual microgravity environment, a gravity replacement load (GRL) must always be added to return the exercising subject to the support surface and the resulting skeletal load is critically dependent upon the magnitude of the GRL. To our knowledge, GRLs during orbital flight have only been measured once (on STS 81) and it is likely that most or all prior treadmill exercise in space has used GRLs that were less than one body weight. McCrory (1997) has shown that subjects walking and running in simulated zero-G can tolerate GRLs of 1 if an appropriate harness is used. Several investigators have attempted to measure in vivo strains and forces in the bones of humans, but have faced ethical and technical limitations. The anteromedial aspect of the tibial midshaft has been a common site for the placement of strain gauges; one reason to measure strains in the anterior tibia is that this region is surgically accessible. Aamodt et al. (1997) were able to measure strains on the lateral surface of the proximal femur only because their experimental subjects were already scheduled for hip surgery. Lu et al. (1997) used an instrumented massive proximal femoral prosthesis along with electromyographic measurements to demonstrate that femoral forces depend on muscular activity. These analyses of in vivo bone mechanics are valuable. The invasive nature of the procedures involved, however, limits both the number of subjects and the number of strain gauge locations. Further, the results of these studies may be confounded by the inclusion of subjects with pathological conditions. Gross et al. (1992) measured strain at three locations on the equine third metacarpal and used those data to construct a computer model of the internal strain environment of the bone. An analogous placement of multiple gauges in living humans would be difficult and potentially hazardous because of the depth of soft tissue overlying the tibia and femur.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Peterman, M. (Pennsylvania State Univ. University Park, PA United States)
McCrory, J. L. (Pennsylvania State Univ. University Park, PA United States)
Sharkey, N. A. (Pennsylvania State Univ. University Park, PA United States)
Piazza, S. (Pennsylvania State Univ. University Park, PA United States)
Cavanagh, P. R. (Pennsylvania State Univ. University Park, PA United States)
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
Funding Number(s)
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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