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QUANTIFYING THE MUSCULOSKELETAL CHANGES DUE TO LONG-DURATION SPACEFLIGHT USING MEDICAL IMAGING

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abstract
Exposure to microgravity during spaceflight induces a number of physiological adaptations in the body of an astronaut. The unweighting of the skeletal muscles results in a decreased use of the musculoskeletal load bearing sites of the body. Muscular atrophy, decreased muscle strength and endurance, bone mineral loss and increased risk of osteoporosis are all results of prolonged exposure to microgravity. This study makes use of medical images from crewmembers currently on long duration missions on the International Space Station to quantify the changes in skeletal muscle morphology, composition, and spinal bone density. We found that there was an increase in the fat infiltration for most of the lumbar and all thoracic muscles. There were decreases in sizes for most of the thoracic and all the lumbar muscles. We also observed no significant losses in the bone mineral density of the cervical (C3) and lumbar (L1) vertebrae of crewmembers who made use of the Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED) on the ISS. These findings will help make informed decisions on improving the current countermeasures and mitigate risk of injury, both of which are highly important for the design of both longer and farther exploration missions to planets such as Mars.
subject
bone
microgravity
muscle
space
contributor
Dash, Siddharth (author)
Weaver, Ashley A. (committee chair)
Lenchik, Leon (committee member)
Beavers, Kristen (committee member)
date
2021-06-03T08:36:23Z (accessioned)
2021 (issued)
degree
Biomedical Engineering (discipline)
2026-05-17 (liftdate)
embargo
2026-05-17 (terms)
identifier
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/98850 (uri)
language
en (iso)
publisher
Wake Forest University
title
QUANTIFYING THE MUSCULOSKELETAL CHANGES DUE TO LONG-DURATION SPACEFLIGHT USING MEDICAL IMAGING
type
Thesis

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