During our brainstorming session at NASA Space Apps Challenge 2015, we researched various problems that astronauts face in space. One of the tougher challenges was the loss of bone mass, a condition known as osteopenia and its more severe form osteoporosis.

Osteopenia in space is caused by the lack of mechanical stimuli on bones. On Earth, our bones must fight gravity to support our weight, which causes them to constantly rebuild themselves. In microgravity of space, the mechanical stress on bones is much less intense, resulting in attenuated bone formation.

It is so severe that the average astronaut’s bone mass decreases for 1 to 2 percent every month, in some cases as much as 20 percent in six months. For comparison, postmenopausal women, untreated for bone loss, lose 1 to 1.5 percent of bone mass in one year.

To combat osteopenia, astronauts in space are required to train daily, for instance, using the Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED) on the International Space Station. The other option is taking medication. These measures are effective, but they are not ideal, exercise is time consuming, and medication usually has side effects.

Our vision is to develop a noninvasive treatment for osteopenia, which is easy to apply and won’t require expensive equipment.

More about bone formation or skip to the solution.

Also check out our project on NASA space apps website.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s