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.
“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.