The Specific Aims of the project were to:
1) Develop hardware based on Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) technology that can unobtrusively monitor the accelerations applied to the body and interface with an ambulatory monitor.
2) Extend the Daily Load Stimulus Algorithm to account for recent developments in bone mechanobiology, to incorporate accelerometric signals, and to write software to perform this analysis in real-time.
3) Demonstrate the feasibility and validity of the approach in 1g, in 1/6g in the eZLS, and in another analog.
4) Integrate the hardware and software into a package suitable for flight development.
1) COMPLETE DATA COLLECTION IN eZLS FACILITY: The largest human study to date has been completed in the Exercise Countermeasures Laboratory utilizing the eZLS facility at NASA Glenn Research Center. The activity monitoring system was tested at 1g, 3/8g, and 1/6g gravity loads in the eZLS during a variety of locomotor activities and functional tasks, including walking, running, loping, hopping, ladder climb, platform jump down, rock carry, obstacle course, static hopping, and squat exercise.
2) DEPLOY SOFTWARE UPDATES AND INCREASE DATA THROUGHPUT: A comprehensive analysis of the wireless communication protocol and software configuration was conducted. Software updates have resulted in more reliable communication and more consistent data logging.
3) COMPLETE DATA COLLECTION IN PARABOLIC FLIGHT: Data was successfully collected on nine subjects during parabolic flight campaigns in October 2012 and April 2013. However, neither campaign yielded a complete and successful data set. The investigators are tentatively approved for another flight campaign in 2014 where they hope they can get a full complement of parabolas and activities/configurations with all data components.
4) CONTINUED DATA ANALYSIS: Data analysis has been an on-going effort over the life of the project. Analysis of the data continues to suggest that the partial gravity environments of the moon or Mars will not alone be osteoprotective. Exercise will remain a necessary countermeasure in these environments. It is unclear what amount of loaded exercise is necessary to maintain optimal bone health. On-going work in this study will utilize the enhanced Daily Load Stimulus theory to help answer this question. It is certain that running in reduced gravity will still benefit from use of a subject load device to increase impact during locomotor exercises. Enhancements have been made to the activity programs to allow real-time reporting of daily activity and progress toward individual daily load stimulus target goals. NASA Glenn's Integrated Medical Model (IMM) team is exploring input of the jump down data into their bone fracture risk model, and with Joern Rittweger of the German Aerospace Association to explore the energy losses experienced during static, stiff-legged hopping in 1g, 3/8g, and 1/6g environments.
5) FLIGHT READINESS: The system performed well during parabolic flight testing. The sensors have successfully been interfaced with the Smartphone platform which can be used as a portable data logging system. Currently one sensor communicates with the phone at a time, and the feasibility of connecting two Bluetooth devices to one phone is being explored.
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