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IMAGE-BASED ANALYSIS REVEALS DETRIMENTAL EFFECTS OF LONG-DURATION SPACEFLIGHT ON MUSCLES OF THE LUMBAR SPINE AND ABDOMINAL WALL

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abstract
Crewmembers exposed to microgravity for extended periods of time develop muscle atrophy and associated functional declines that persist while on mission and after return to Earth. While crewmembers undergo demanding strength and conditioning programs designed to minimize the detrimental effects of microgravity on musculoskeletal health, continued physiological deterioration in the lumbar spine increases their risk of structural tissue damage, making them susceptible to postural instability, intervertebral disc herniation, and chronic pain. This study uses previously collected pre-flight and post-flight biomedical images from crewmembers on long-duration International Space Station missions to measure how spaceflight deconditioning affects muscle morphology and composition in the abdomen and lower back, with emphasis on the anti-gravity postural muscles supporting the vertebral column. Collectively, our findings about musculoskeletal change with microgravity will inform the development of improved in-flight countermeasures to protect spinal health, preserve functional performance, and mitigate injury — all of which are critical to successful human exploration beyond low Earth orbit.
subject
astronaut
computed tomography
magnetic resonance imaging
medical imaging
microgravity
muscle atrophy
contributor
Greene, Katelyn Anne (author)
Weaver, Ashley A (committee chair)
Beavers, Kristen M (committee member)
Lenchik, Leon (committee member)
date
2020-08-28T08:35:21Z (accessioned)
2020 (issued)
degree
Biomedical Engineering (discipline)
2025-09-04 (liftdate)
embargo
2025-09-04 (terms)
identifier
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/96937 (uri)
language
en (iso)
publisher
Wake Forest University
title
IMAGE-BASED ANALYSIS REVEALS DETRIMENTAL EFFECTS OF LONG-DURATION SPACEFLIGHT ON MUSCLES OF THE LUMBAR SPINE AND ABDOMINAL WALL
type
Thesis

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