Drug May Keep Astronauts' Bones Strong

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zavvy

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<b>Drug May Keep Astronauts' Bones Strong</b><br /><br />LINK<br /><br />A drug that prevents bone loss could permit astronauts to make long journeys in space, according to results from a study of spinal injury patients.<br /><br />The two biggest persistent health problems in space flight are radiation exposure and bone loss, says Jay Shapiro, a bone researcher at the Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, Maryland. "They have to be solved before we launch a manned Mars mission."<br /><br />Shapiro leads a team that has studied the effects of zoledronate in spinal injury patients over the course of a year. The drug is normally used to prevent secondary bone tumours developing in cancer patients, and has shown early promise in retarding the effects of the bone-wasting disease osteoporosis.<br /><br />But spinal injury patients provide a much better model than those with osteoporosis for the weightless conditions in space, says Shapiro, because such patients lose bone at a similar rate to astronauts. "If grandma has osteoporosis, she loses about 2-3% of her bone mass every decade. Astronauts lose about 2% every month, and exercise has little impact on that," he says.<br /><br />In the study, eight patients who did not take the drug lost 16-18% of their femur bone mass over a year, while seven patients using the drug lost only 6%. "The drug significantly reduced bone loss," says Shapiro. "It's very much a first step, but it seems the most reasonable drug to use to allow trips to Mars."<br /><br />Shapiro presented the results last week at the annual meeting of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research in Seattle, Washington. The research has been submitted for publication in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.<br /><br />Space tests<br /><br />The National Space Biomedical Research Institute, based in Houston, Texas, investigates how space flight affects the human body. Jeanne Beck
 
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rogers_buck

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I always assumed that drugs like Flossmax were developed from Astronaut studies. Guess I got that backwards...
 
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