According to a new analysis, space travel can erode astronaut's bone density

According to a new analysis, space travel can erode astronaut's bone density ...

According to a recent study, floating around in space may seem fun, but it actually leads to a significant decrease in bone density that isn't recovered until a year after their return to Earth.

Space travelers experience bone loss.

As we age, become injured, or in any situation where we cannot move the body, we lose bone, according to Dr. Leigh Gabel, Ph.D., assistant professor in kinesiology, and study lead author.

It's rare to get to know what happens to astronauts and how they recover. It's also rare to get to know what's going on in the body in such a short time frame. We'd have to follow someone for decades on Earth to notice the same degree of bone loss."

Gabel and his team traveled to the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, to measure the astronauts' wrists and ankles before they left for space, on their return to Earth, and then six and twelve months after their return.

"We found that weight-bearing bones only partially recovered in most astronauts one year after spaceflight," said Gabel. "This suggests that spaceflight's permanent bone loss would be roughly the same as a decade of age-related bone loss on Earth."

This loss occurs because to bones that would normally be weight-bearing on Earth, but which would not be required to be carried in space's microgravity environment.

After returning from space flight, weve seen astronauts who walked happily on their bikes on the Johnson Space Center campus to participate in a study visit. Dr. Steven Boyd, Ph.D., professor at the Cumming School of Medicine, and the lead author of the new study,

A testimony from an astronaut

Dr. Robert Thirsk, a former UCalgary chancellor and astronaut, testified to hearing this phenomenon when returning from space.

Thirsk noted that fatigue, light-headedness, and imbalance were immediate challenges for me when I returned home. Bones and muscles recover the most slowly after a mission.

astronauts who returned after shorter missions (less than six months) were more able to recover bone density after their return. As we prepare to embark on missions on Mars and beyond, it is vital that we consider how this sort of travel will affect our bodies.

We must also examine how weightlessness will affect our bodies in the near and long term, in order to avoid any significant lasting effects.

The research is published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Abstract:For understanding the long-term implications of long-term spaceflight injuries, we examined bone strength, density, and microarchitecture in seventeen astronauts (14 males; mean 47years) and assessed biomarkers of bone turnover and exercise. F.Load, total, cortical, and trabecular bone mineral density (BMD) remained unchanged 12 months after flight in astronauts on shorter (6-months), but not longer (3.9%) missions.

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