Astronauts start losing bone density within just two days after they lose the force of gravity. Now, researchers are finding that what we learn from space study might actually help us fight osteoporosis and a lot of other conditions here on earth.
Exercising in the air on the zero-gravity locomotion simulator, a virtual reality treadmill and a machine named "The Jolly Jumper" that analyzes motion and its impact on our bones. These experiments at the Cleveland Clinic's Space Lab teach researchers everything from how to prevent bone loss to how to help people with balance disorders.
Doctor Brian Davis' mission is to find out how to maintain bone density in space. You see, astronauts lose it ten-times faster than postmenopausal women who are extremely high risk.
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"There's a possibility that jumping has multiple benefits: musculoskeletal, cardiovascular and neurovestibular," says Brian Davis, Ph.D. a biomedical engineer at the Cleveland Clinic.
Researchers believe the virtual reality treadmill may help those with inner ear problems.
"This could be used as a rehab tool, a training tool, where someone with a balance disorder could come and walk on it on a weekly basis and help to stimulate the balance system," says Susan D'Andrea, Ph.D. a biomedical engineer at the Cleveland Clinic.
Dr. Peter Cavanagh says space is a perfect environment for research because gravity and other variables disappear.