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Boffins one-step closer to prevent bone loss during spaceflight.

Byline: ANI

Washington, Mar 21 (ANI): Researchers from University of Washington have found a novel way to prevent bone loss during spaceflight.

Studies have shown that the absence of gravity is causing astronauts on the International Space Station to lose up to 10 times more bone mass in key regions of the body each month than most post-menopausal women do in the same period of time back here on Earth.

While using bedrest as an analog of spaceflight, scientists could able to prevent bone loss in a specific region of the hip.

They are at the mid-point of a study in which 22 volunteers remain in bed, in a six-degree, head-down tilt position for 84 days.

The head-down tilt mimics many of the physiologic adaptations astronauts experience during spaceflight, such as bodily fluid Noun 1. bodily fluid - the liquid parts of the body
body fluid, liquid body substance, humour, humor

body substance - the substance of the body

aqueous humor, aqueous humour - the limpid fluid within the eyeball between the cornea and the lens
 shifts toward the head.

The bedrest confinement mimics the complete "unloading" of the musculoskeletal system Noun 1. musculoskeletal system - the system of muscles and tendons and ligaments and bones and joints and associated tissues that move the body and maintain its form  that astronauts feel as they float through space due to the lack of gravity, which accelerates bone loss.

During the study, half of the participants are randomized to perform individually prescribed intermittent treadmill exercise similar to workouts by astronauts in space -- but with one important difference. They were pulled towards the treadmill surface by a harness applying greater force than what was previously measured during walking and running.

With the help of treadmill exercise countermeasure, the research team was able to prevent bone loss in important skeletal regions.

"We have found that we can, on average, prevent bone loss in an important region of the hip with this intervention," said Dr. Peter Cavanagh, UW professor of orthopaedics and sports medicine sports medicine, branch of medicine concerned with physical fitness and with the treatment and prevention of injuries and other disorders related to sports. Knee, leg, back, and shoulder injuries; stiffness and pain in joints; tendinitis; "tennis elbow"; and , and principal investigator of the study.

"No bedrest study ever before has accomplished this,

"This study takes us another step closer to learning how to maintain bone health during and after these space missions," he added. (ANI)

Copyright 2009 Asian News International The Asian News International (ANI) agency provides multimedia news to China and 50 bureaus in India. It covers virtually all of South Asia since its foundation and presently claims, on its official website, to be the leading South Asia-wide news agency.  (ANI) - All Rights Reserved.

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Publication:Asian News International
Date:Mar 21, 2009
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