Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Bed Rest Studies Revisited


Many moons ago, the European Space Agency operated bedrest studies as "space flight simulations" in Toulouse, France, which were very similar to those conducted by the scientists at NASA's Johnson Space Center. They specialized in data based on women's needs at the time, as the trials also served pregnancy-related bedrest concerns and osteoporosis.

Tilt Test

 Space-Travel.com reported recently that the ESA will be re-starting a new program for 12 participants of both genders that will stretch into 2013.

Four will spend 21 days in bed while engaging in recumbent weight-training and a vibrating exercise contraption. Another group of four will engage in the same, but add whey protein to their diets to see if there is any difference in muscle building. A final four will spend the same amount of time in bed, but lacking any of these attempts at "countermeasures".

bed rest studies

21 days in bed may sound like a lot. I once spent 54 days in bed for the sake of a similar Space Flight Simulation, so I like to think 21 would be no problem. However, any amount of bedrest can be a challenge to the body!

As we age, our bodies lose bone density and muscle strength. Astronauts in space suffer similar changes but at a much faster rate than on Earth.

Finding ways to combat this process is important to space agencies, hospital patients and everyone who plans on growing old.

That would be... all of us. So, hey, all in the name of science, right?  My kudos and congrats to the amazing people who screens and qualified for this wonderful project.  NASA should soon be announcing their new bed rest flight sims for 2013 as well! Stay tuned for news if you want to apply!