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Patterns of bone loss in bed-ridden healthy young male subjects: results from the long term bed rest study in Toulouse

Rittweger, Jörn and Felsenberg, Dieter (2003) Patterns of bone loss in bed-ridden healthy young male subjects: results from the long term bed rest study in Toulouse. The Journal of Musculoskeletal and Neuronal Interactions, 3 (4). pp. 290-291.

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Abstract

Loss of bone mineral is one of the main concerns of the Space Agencies in the planning of long-term space missions. Therefore, the Agencies are at present supporting bed rest studies. Because the effects on muscles and bones in the lower extremity during space flight are very similar1,2, bed rest is accepted as a ground-based model for it. The latter suggests also that the main cause of the bone loss observed during space flight is immobilization and not weightlessness per se. Obviously, such bed rest studies provide a chance to study the specific effects of immobilization, without interference of other diseases. In that sense, and also because the countermeasures that the Space Agencies have started to develop may be efficient in the near future, bed rest studies may also be of interest for clinical medicine. So far, two types of countermeasures have been considered. Resistance exercise is thought to preserve the leg musculature, and hopefully it thus will conserve the bones. Secondly, bisphosphonates as a potent inhibitor to bone resorption should be considered as a possible countermeasure.

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