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SPACEFLIGHT EFFECTS ON JOINT HEALTH AND GAIT

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title
SPACEFLIGHT EFFECTS ON JOINT HEALTH AND GAIT
author
Kwok, Andy
abstract
Introduction: Space exploration and inhabiting other planets has always piquedmankind’s interest. Before interplanetary travel becomes reality, overcoming the spaceflight environment and challenges it provides is a necessity. These challenges include reduced weight bearing caused by microgravity and space radiation. While their effects have been studied in the musculoskeletal and neuromuscular system, it remains relatively unclear as to its effect on joint health. Previous studies have shown degradation to soft tissues in the knee when they have been exposed to reduced loading or low dose radiation on Earth leading to altered sensorimotor functions. This makes us inclined to believe there is a negative effect caused to joint health while exposed to space. The purpose of this dissertation is to explore the effects of actual and simulated spaceflight effects on joint health, developing a ground based analogue, exploring potential countermeasures, and methodology to test countermeasures. Research Problem: Does spaceflight environment affect joint health? Can we simulate spaceflight conditions effect in joint health on Earth? Is it possible to implement gait analysis into testing spaceflight conditions? Methods: We performed studies evaluating actual and simulated spaceflight effects on the articular cartilage and meniscus in rodent models to test for potential joint damages. This study implements microCT to identify structural properties, histological and proteomic analysis to explore potential mechanisms, exploring exercise methods on simulated spaceflight to test for countermeasure effects, and gait analysis to determine disease states caused by spaceflight conditions. xii Conclusions: Actual and simulated spaceflight conditions promote joint degradation and sensorimotor deficits in rodent models. HLU and low dose irradiations provide a ground based analogue for studying spaceflight effects in murine models. Aerobic exercise has the potential to improve post-hind limb unloading structural properties in the soft tissues of the knee. Gait analysis was able to measure changes in mouse models after spaceflight. Future Directions: Further research is necessary to explore potential countermeasures and therapeutics, such as facilitating recovery via aerobic and resistance exercises post-mission and/or administration of antioxidants, to help counteract joint health degradation and gait alterations caused by the spaceflight environment.
subject
gait
hind limb unloading
joint health
knee
meniscus
spaceflight
contributor
Willey, Jeffrey S (committee chair)
Kerr, Bethany A (committee member)
Munley, Michael (committee member)
Yammani, Raghunatha (committee member)
date
2021-06-03T08:36:18Z (accessioned)
2023-06-02T08:30:14Z (available)
2021 (issued)
degree
Physiology and Pharmacology (discipline)
embargo
2023-06-02 (terms)
identifier
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/98833 (uri)
language
en (iso)
publisher
Wake Forest University
type
Dissertation

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