As the space shuttle Discovery prepares to launch on July 1, researchers at the University of Minnesota have identified a way for astronauts to reduce their risk of developing kidney stones while in space.
Astronauts lose calcium in their bones and strength in their muscles while in space because of the zero-gravity environment. This calcium can end up in their kidneys, putting them at risk for developing kidney stones.
At least 14 American crew members have developed kidney stones in the last 5 years, and as missions become longer, the number is likely to grow. While astronauts have exercised in space to attempt to combat bone loss, the lack of gravity makes it difficult to achieve enough resistance to maintain their pre-flight fitness levels.
"This becomes a real health concern, as the time astronauts spend in space and living in the space station is extended," said Manoj Monga, M.D., professor of urologic surgery and lead investigator. The study will be published in the July 2006 print issue of the Journal of Urology and is available online now.
Kidney stones are mineral deposits in the kidneys that can travel through the urinary tract, causing intense pain. One of the most common types of kidney stones is caused by the buildup of calcium oxalate.
Researchers studied the effects of exercise in pairs of identical twins, since a portion of a person's risk for developing kidney stones is genetic. The study participants had no history of kidney stones and were placed on standardized diets.
The twins were put on bed rest on a tilted bed that positioned their head lower than their feet to simulate low gravity for 30 days. One twin per pair was randomly selected to exercise (while still reclining) in a chamber that put negative pressure, or resistance on their lower body, and the other twin served as a non-exercising control. The pressure in the chamber was roughly equivalent to what a person would experience running on Earth.
Monga found that the non-exercising study participants had higher levels of urinary calcium than the exercising group, and thus had a greater risk of developing kidney stones. Additionally, many astronauts do not drink enough water while in space, so their urine output is lower, and the food they consume is higher in sodium, which also increases the risk for kidney stone development.
"In combination with hydration therapy, exercise in a machine that simulates gravity could reduce the astronaut's risk of developing kidney stones, a condition that could be particularly painful and lead to an aborted mission," Monga said.
Sara E. Buss | EurekAlert!
Organ-on-a-chip mimics heart's biomechanical properties
23.02.2017 | Vanderbilt University
Researchers identify cause of hereditary skeletal muscle disorder
22.02.2017 | Klinikum der Universität München
In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport
Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...
The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.
The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...
Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...
Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".
Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...
13.02.2017 | Event News
10.02.2017 | Event News
09.02.2017 | Event News
24.02.2017 | Life Sciences
24.02.2017 | Life Sciences
24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News