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Lost in space: Astronauts struggle to regain bone density

France 24 30/06/2022 Paris (AFP) – Astronauts lose decades’ worth of bone mass in space that many do not recover even after a year back on Earth, researchers said Thursday, warning that it could be a “big concern” for future missions to Mars.

Previous research has shown astronauts lose between one to two percent of bone density for every month spent in space, as the lack of gravity takes the pressure off their legs when it comes to standing and walking.

To find out how astronauts recover once their feet are back on the ground, a new study scanned the wrists and ankles of 17 astronauts before, during and after a stay on the International Space Station.

The bone density lost by astronauts was equivalent to how much they would shed in several decades if they were back on Earth, said study co-author Steven Boyd of Canada’s University of Calgary and director of the McCaig Institute for Bone and Joint Health.

The researchers found that the shinbone density of nine of the astronauts had not fully recovered after a year on Earth — and were still lacking around a decade’s worth of bone mass.

The astronauts who went on the longest missions, which ranged from four to seven months on the ISS, were the slowest to recover.

“The longer you spend in space, the more bone you lose,” Boyd told AFP.

Boyd said it is a “big concern” for planned for future missions to Mars, which could see astronauts spend years in space……………………..

Guillemette Gauquelin-Koch, the head of medicine research at France’s CNES space agency, said that the weightlessness experienced in space is “most drastic physical inactivity there is”.

“Even with two hours of sport a day, it is like you are bedridden for the other 22 hours,” said the doctor, who was not part of the study.

“It will not be easy for the crew to set foot on Martian soil when they arrive — it’s very disabling.”………………………………….  https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20220630-lost-in-space-astronauts-struggle-to-regain-bone-density

July 2, 2022 - Posted by | health, Reference, space travel

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