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Retention of Skeletal, Musculature, and Postural Status with a Non-Invasive, Extremely Low-Level Mechanical Signal: A Ground-Based Evaluation of Efficacy (BEDREST0035)
Principal Investigator
Research Area:
Skeletal physiology
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Homo sapiens Species: Human

The osteoporosis which develops in microgravity is one of the greatest hurdles to an extended human presence in space. Earth-based animal and human studies have demonstrated that extremely low magnitude mechanical stimuli (LMMS), if imposed at a high frequency, is strongly anabolic to the skeleton, and can serve to inhibit the bone loss, which typically parallels disuse. This experiment is designed to evaluate the efficacy of this unique biomechanical countermeasure to inhibit the disuse induced osteoporosis seen in long term bed-rest, the closest ground based equivalent of microgravity. To achieve this in a non-invasive, non-pharmacologic means would have tremendous impact not only in space, but would also address the bone loss which plagues over 20 million people world wide each year on earth.

The objectives of this study are to: (1) show that application of low magnitude (0.3g), high frequency (30Hz) mechanical stimulation, will reduce the loss of bone seen with long term disuse; (2) show that application of low magnitude, high frequency mechanical stimulation will improve the postural control of subjects undergoing long term bed-rest; and (3) determine if long term bed-rest affects the sensitivity of the lower extremities as well as to determine if the application of low magnitude, high frequency mechanical stimulation will inhibit the changes if they exist.

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Holguin N, Muir J, Rubin C, Judex S. Short applications of very low-magnitude vibrations attenuate expansion of the intervertebral disc during extended bed rest. Spine J. 2009 Jun;9(6):470-7. []

Muir J, Judex S, Qin YX, Rubin C. Postural instability caused by extended bed rest is alleviated by brief daily exposure to low magnitude mechanical signals. Gait Posture. 2011 Mar;33(3):429-35. []

Ozcivici E, Luu YK, Adler B, Qin YX, Rubin J, Judex S, Rubin CT. Mechanical signals as anabolic agents in bone. Nat Rev Rheumatol. 2010 Jan;6(1):50-9.[]

Bone and bones

Data Information
Data Availability
Archive is complete. Some data sets are online.
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Bone strength
Muscle strength
Postural control
Postural stability
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Mission/Study Information
Mission Launch/Start Date Landing/End Date Duration
Campaign 3 02/20/2005 04/14/2010 5 years, 1 month, 25 days
Campaign 5 04/30/2006 12/23/2007 1 year, 7 months

Human Research Program (HRP) Human Research Roadmap (HRR) Information
Crew health and performance is critical to successful human exploration beyond low Earth orbit. The Human Research Program (HRP) investigates and mitigates the highest risks to human health and performance, providing essential countermeasures and technologies for human space exploration. Risks include physiological and performance effects from hazards such as radiation, altered gravity, and hostile environments, as well as unique challenges in medical support, human factors, and behavioral health support. The HRP utilizes an Integrated Research Plan (IRP) to identify the approach and research activities planned to address these risks, which are assigned to specific Elements within the program. The Human Research Roadmap is the web-based tool for communicating the IRP content.

The Human Research Roadmap is located at:

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Additional Information
Managing NASA Center
Johnson Space Center (JSC)
Responsible NASA Representative
Johnson Space Center LSDA Office
Project Manager: Jessica Keune
Institutional Support
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Alternate Experiment Name
Proposal Source