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EXPERIMENT INFORMATION

Bone Mineral Measurement (M078)
Principal Investigator
Research Area:
Bone and calcium physiology
Species Studied
Scientific Name: Homo sapiens Species: Human

Description
OBJECTIVES:
The purpose of this study was to measure bone mineral changes in the Skylab crewmembers resulting from exposure to microgravity. Secondly, researchers hoped to determine the time course of bone mineral changes. Preflight and postflight x-ray densitometry studies of Gemini and early-Apollo crewmembers determined a significant loss of bone mineral content occurred in the os calcis during space flight. Reevaluation of the data using photon absorptiometry determined that bone mineral losses, while present, had been overstated due to the difficulties of using x-ray densitometry. However, researchers hypothesized that the magnitude of bone mineral losses for those short duration space flights, if extrapolated to longer Skylab missions, could prove hazardous in terms of potential fractures or in the production of renal stones.

Ground-based studies of bed-rested and immobilized subjects showed that calcium and other minerals normally found in weight-bearing bones were excreted from the body for as long as the bones remained immobile. In some instances, this resulted in a negative calcium balance in the body. Studies of that type represented a close approximation to the weightless state and were used as a model to predict the bone mineral changes in space.


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Publications
Life Sciences Directorate. JSC Internal Note. Skylab 3 Preliminary Biomedical Report. Houston TX: National Aeronautics and Space Administration; 1974. JSC Document Number 08668.

Life Sciences Directorate. JSC Internal Note. Skylab 4 Preliminary Biomedical Report. Houston TX: National Aeronautics and Space Administration; 1975. JSC Document Number 08818.

Life Sciences Directorate. JSC Internal Note. Skylab 1/2 Preliminary Biomedical Report. Houston TX: National Aeronautics and Space Administration; 1973. JSC Document Number 08439.

Rambaut PC, Dietlein LF, Vogel JM, Smith MC Jr. Comparative study of two direct methods of bone mineral measurement. Aerospace Medicine. 1972. June; 43(6):646-50. [pubmed.gov]

Smith MC Jr, Rambaut PC, Vogel JM, Whittle MW. Bone mineral measurement - Experiment M078. In: Johnson RS and Dietlein LF, editors. Biomedical Results from Skylab. Washington DC: NASA, 1977: 183-190. NASA SP-377. [NTRS]

Tilton FE, Degioanni JJC, Schneider VS. Long-term follow-up of Skylab bone demineralization. Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine. 1980; 51(11):1209-1213. [pubmed.gov]

Vogel JM, Rambaut PC, Smith MC. Bone mineral measurement from Apollo experiment M-078. January, 01 1974. NASA TM-58110. [NTRS]

Vogel JM, Whittle MW. Bone mineral changes: The second manned Skylab mission. Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine. 1976. April; 47(4):396-400. [pubmed.gov]

Witt RM, Mazess RB, Cameron JR. Standardization of bone mineral measurements. In: Proceedings of Bone Measurement Conference, Atomic Energy Commission Conference; 1970;303-307. Report No.: 700515.

Keywords
Absorptiometry, photon
Bed rest
Bone and bones
Bone demineralization, pathologic
Bone density
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Data Information
Data Availability
Archive is complete. Data sets are not publicly available but can be requested.
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Parameters
Bone mineral content : radius
Bone mineral content : os calcis
Bone mineral content : ulna
Urinary calcium
Urinary hydroxyproline

Mission/Study Information
Mission Launch/Start Date Landing/End Date Duration
Skylab 2 05/25/1973 06/22/1973 28 days
Skylab 3 07/28/1973 09/25/1973 59.5 days
Skylab 4 11/16/1973 02/08/1974 84 days

Additional Information
Managing NASA Center
Johnson Space Center (JSC)
Responsible NASA Representative
Johnson Space Center LSDA Office
Project Manager: Eric Gallagher
Institutional Support
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
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