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University of Washington scientists one step closer to stopping bone loss during spaceflight
Date:3/20/2009

igned to the exercise group, bone loss in 4 of the 5 subjects has been prevented in important skeletal regions by the treadmill exercise countermeasure, while the six non-exercising control subject participants all lost bone mass.

Cavanagh said the study results will impact bone health in space and on Earth by better informing exercise prescriptions for astronauts on future space missions, while furthering scientists' understanding of the role individualized exercise programs play in addressing age- and gender-related osteoporosis back on Earth.

Funded by NASA and the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI), the study is titled "A Quantitative Test of On-Orbit Exercise Countermeasures for Bone Demineralization Using a Bedrest Analog." The study is expected to move to the NASA Flight Analogs Facility at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston in June 2009. Cavanagh will collaborate with fellow scientists at NASA until the anticipated completion of the study in early 2011. He will discuss the relevance of knowledge gained in space for life on Earth in a keynote address at the International Symposium on Osteoporosis in Washington, DC on April 2, 2009.

For more than 40 years, scientists have known that spaceflight has a detrimental effect on bone, but to date, none of the countermeasures have been 100% effective.

"This study takes us another step closer to learning how to maintain bone health during and after these space missions," Cavanagh said. "This week's launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery serves as a timely reminder that space exploration continues and, with it, our research agenda must keep pace to ensure the musculoskeletal health of our first interplanetary explorers -- as well as the rest us back here at home."


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Contact: Clare Hagerty
clareh@u.washington.edu
206-685-1323
University of Washington - Health Sciences/UW News and Community Relations
Source:Eurekalert

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