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Canada Takes Part in International Study on Consequences of Prolonged Bed Rest

Press Release From: Canadian Space Agency
Posted: Saturday, June 7, 2003

image The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) and the Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis (IMHA) have created opportunities for Canadian researchers to take part in a study that will hopefully shed light on the physiological changes occurring during long-term bed rest. These changes, such as the loss of bone and muscle mass, are similar to those seen in astronauts during space flights, in patients affected by certain diseases and in aging people.

"We often use the space environment to study aspects of life on Earth. But in this case, we are using an Earth model to better understand the bone and muscle loss as well as the cardiovascular de-conditioning experienced by astronauts in space for long periods", said Dr. Nicole Buckley, program scientist for Life Sciences at the Canadian Space Agency. "Understanding and reversing these processes will be critical to any long duration space travel such as a mission to Mars".

The International Long-Term Bed Rest Study organized by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES), in cooperation with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), will specifically test the efficacy of exercise and drug therapy in mitigating the loss of bone and muscle mass while conserving muscle strength and aerobic capacity. Approximately 25 female volunteers will participate in the 60-90 day long-term head down bed rest study.

"Chronic pain, loss of mobility and function, loss of independence and ultimately a diminished quality of life are common outcomes of a host of musculoskeletal and connective tissue conditions," said IMHA's Scientific Director, Dr. Cy Frank. "The Bed Rest Study promises to provide information that may contribute to more effective treatment of a broad array of conditions of bones, joints and muscles such as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis."

About the Canadian Space Agency

Established in 1989 with its headquarters situated in Saint-Hubert, Quebec, the Canadian Space Agency coordinates all aspects of the Canadian Space Program. Through its Space Knowledge, Applications and Industry Development business line, the CSA delivers services involving: Earth and the Environment; Space Science; Human Presence in Space; Satellite Communications; Space Technology; Space Qualification Services; Space Awareness and Education. The Canadian Space Agency is at the forefront of the development and application of space knowledge for the benefit of Canadians and humanity.

About the The Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis The Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis is a virtual Institute building research linkages and relevant research capacity across Canada. IMHA supports research in three priority areas: Physical Activity, Mobility and Health; Tissue Injury, Repair and Replacement; and Pain, Disability and Chronic Disease. IMHA is one of thirteen Institutes spearheaded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

For Further Information on the Long-Term Bed Rest Study please contact:

Doris Ward, Senior Communications Officer
Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis
(403) 210-9899
E-mail: doward@ucalgary.ca

Monique Billette
Senior Media Relations Officer
Canadian Space Agency
(450) 926-4370
E-mail: monique.billette@space.gc.ca

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