Astronauts lose shocking amount of bone mass in space, study finds

Edited By: Sayan Ghosh
New Delhi, India Updated: Jul 01, 2022, 06:10 AM(IST)

Astronauts lose shocking amount of bone mass in space, study finds Photograph:( Twitter )

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Dr Steven Boyd, of Canada’s University of Calgary and director of the McCaig Institute for Bone and Joint Health, also warned that the rate of bone mass loss can be a problematic for future missions to Mars due to the duration.

Astronauts undergo rigorous training before travelling to space, but no amount of preparation can make them ready for the toll that the entire experience takes on their health. Researchers have found that astronauts lose a huge amount of bone mass when travelling in space and it takes more than a year for them to recover it after coming back from their missions. Dr Steven Boyd, of Canada’s University of Calgary and director of the McCaig Institute for Bone and Joint Health, also warned that the rate of bone mass loss can be a problematic for future missions to Mars due to the duration.

“Will it continue to get worse over time or not? We don’t know,"

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“It’s possible we hit a steady state after a while, or it’s possible that we continue to lose bone. But I can’t imagine that we’d continue to lose it until there’s nothing left,” Boyd told The Guardian.

The research scanned the wrists and ankles of astronauts during and after a stay at the International Space Station (ISS) and found that they lost around 1 to 2 per cent of bone density every month.

That is basically the same amount of bone density that people lose in almost decades.  

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

Guillemette Gauquelin-Koch, the head of medicine research at France’s CNES space agency, explained that the weightlessness experienced in space is the reason behind the loss of bone density.

“Even with two hours of sport a day, it is like you are bedridden for the other 22 hours. It will not be easy for the crew to set foot on Martian soil when they arrive – it’s very disabling.”

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