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Sweat it out: UH study examines ability of sweat patches to monitor bone loss
Date:10/1/2008

of the study will look specifically at the MSP and will involve 60 people, from young college students to elderly men and women, to new Air Force recruits. Each will wear a series of patches during normal daily activities and then perform exercises at the UH Laboratory of Integrated Physiology. The patches then will be collected and the sweat analyzed. Changes in bone also will be monitored using bone mineral density scans performed in the department. Clarke expects this phase of the project to span at least eight months.

Being in a microgravity environment causes astronauts' bodies to lose more bone mineral than they can replace, which makes them vulnerable to fractures and breaks. Even when they return to Earth, the bone loss continues as their bodies slowly begin the process of replacing the bone mineral content. This is a critical concern, especially as the space program considers longer space missions to Mars or the Moon.

Clarke says the research has applications for those susceptible to bone loss, such as the elderly, post-menopausal women and adolescent girls

"Typically, it takes up to six months to see if changes in your exercise and eating habits are helping to maintain or increase bone mineral density," Clarke said. "Astronauts on long flights need this information quicker so that they can make adjustments to their exercise protocols, diet or drug treatments. Similarly, bone loss in women can be seen as early as the teen years, so this kind of fast and easy screening device can provide advance notice to fend off serious bone density issues later in their lives."


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Contact: Marisa Ramirez
mrcannon@uh.edu
713-743-8152
University of Houston
Source:Eurekalert

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