A UC Irvine researcher is helping NASA understand more about bone density loss experienced by astronauts who spend long stretches at the International Space Station. Joyce Keyak, professor in residence of radiological sciences, will emploky a technique she created to analyze how microgravity-influenced changes to the hip bone might increase astronauts' fracture risk during spaceflight, upon returning to Earth and with subsequent aging, according to a UCI statement.
She and her research group are tasked with producing a database of hip strengths from population studies with subjects the same ages as NASA's astronaut corps and older.
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"Astronauts are relatively young, and the database will cover this age range and up, including the elderly and both men and women," Keyak says in the statement. "This data will be combined with data from a study in Iceland that measured bone strengths of subjects who subsequently had hip fractures and others who did not have hip fractures."
NASA hopes new bone medical standards recommendations and clinical practice guidelines for reducing occupational health risks in astronauts will be derived from the research.