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Bone. 1998 May;22(5 Suppl):113S-116S.

Future human bone research in space.

Author information

  • 1Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, USA. aleblanc@bcm.tmc.edu

Abstract

Skylab crewmembers demonstrated negative calcium (Ca) balance reaching about -300 mg/day by flight day 84. Limited bone density (BMD) measurements documented that bone was not lost equally from all parts of the skeleton. Subsequent BMD studies during long duration Russian flights documented the regional extent of bone loss. These studies demonstrated mean losses in the spine, femur neck, trochanter, and pelvis of about 1%-1.6% with large differences between individuals as well as between bone sites in a given individual. Limited available data indicate postflight bone recovery occurred in some individuals, but may require several years for complete restoration. Long duration bedrest studies showed a similar pattern of bone loss and calcium balance (-180 mg/day) as spaceflight. During long duration bedrest, resorption markers were elevated, formation markers were unchanged, 1,25 vitamin D (VitD) and calcium absorption were decreased, and serum ionized Ca was increased. Although this information is a good beginning, additional spaceflight research is needed to assess architectural and subregional bone changes, elucidate mechanisms, and develop efficient as well as effective countermeasures. Space research poses a number of unique problems not encountered in ground-based laboratory research. Therefore, researchers contemplating human spaceflight research need to consider a number of unique problems related to spaceflight in their experimental design.

PMID:
9600765
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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