Articles for "Bedrest study"

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Space | 15. December 2021 | posted by Friederike Wolff

SANS-CM bed rest study: Detecting space eye disease while lying down

Messung der Veränderung der Augachsenlänge mittels objektive Refraktion zum Ausschluss einer Verkürzung des Augapfels
Credit: © DLR. All rights reserved
A large number of eye examinations await the test persons in the current bed rest study. The image shows the measurement of the change in eye axis length by means of the so-called objective refraction to exclude a shortening of the eyeball.

Living in space puts an enormous strain on the body. Among other things, astronauts are exposed to space radiation and experience their muscles deteriorate and body fluids shift towards the head. To protect against the radiation, international research is being conducted on protective vests, for example in the MARE mission. Effective training programmes have been developed to combat muscle atrophy, so that today astronauts hardly have any difficulties upon returning to Earth, even after spending months on the International Space Station (ISS). However, the increased pressure in the head due to the changed fluid distribution can lead to permanent problems – especially for the eyes. Time and again, space travellers report a deterioration of their eyesight, with about 70 percent experiencing eye changes, either temporarily during the stay in space or permanently.

The causes are still unclear. There are some theories but no evidence explaining why this affects some astronauts and not others, but it is clear that the eye condition is a significant risk. If we think about the future of human spaceflight with missions to the Moon and Mars, stays in weightlessness will last longer and longer. Through all of this, the health and safety of the space travellers must be maintained. Therefore, reliable prevention and countermeasures are needed. read more

Space | 08. December 2021 | posted by Bed-rest-study

SANS-CM bed rest study: Docking manoeuvres while lying down, guitar concerts and jelly legs

Probandin der SANS-CM-Bettruhestudie in der Unterdruckkammer LBNP
Credit: © DLR. All rights reserved
Six test participants spent two times three hours per day in the low pressure chamber during the bed-rest phase. They were built by DLR in coordination with NASA and they ensure that the body fluids are 'pulled' to the lower half of the body.
 

The first campaign of the SANS-CM bed rest study has come to an end and the DLR Institute of Aerospace Medicine is already preparing for the next one, which will begin in spring 2022. While the test participants spent their last days after their 30-day bed rest at :envihab, the research team has been working on processing the extensive data and continuing the study with new test participants. Before this round's participants packed their bags at the end of November to resume their real lives, we asked them about their experiences. read more

Space | 01. December 2021 | posted by Bed-rest-study

SANS-CM bed rest study: Subject D1 looks back on his 30 days in bed

medizinische Untersuchungen während der Bettruhestudie SANS-CM am DLR Köln
Credit: © DLR. All rights reserved
The daily schedule for the bed rest study includes a number of medical examinations, including intraocular pressure measurement (Fig.1), an MRI (2), an assessment of heartrate and stroke volume via inert gas rebreathing (3) and ultrasound measurements (4)

I 'm at the entrance to the DLR premises in Cologne. Somehow everything seems a bit surreal. The door of the :envihab is about to close behind me for eight weeks. I feel this strange sensation come over me, coupled with keen curiosity and tension. Although it has taken a long time for the study to get started, it's as though someone has only just asked me if I fancy taking part. And now the moment has arrived: as of today, I am Subject D1 in the new bed rest study at DLR.

I'm 42 years old and in my 'normal life' I work as a senior electrician in Facility Management at a hospital specialising in cardiovascular diseases. I'm mainly responsible for building control technology and the power supply. When you have an interest in technical things like I do, it generally comes with a keen sense of curiosity. That's why I'm prepared to lie down for 30 days. read more

Space | 25. November 2021 | posted by Bed-rest-study

The SANS-CM bed rest study: Lying down for 30 days for space research

DLR-Unterdruckzylinder LBNP (Lower Body Negative Pressure Device)
Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)
The beds in the current bed rest study at DLR. As usual, the head end is tilted six degrees below the horizontal. The vacuum cylinders that enclose the body from the waist down are a new feature; they are used on the test participants for six hours a day.

What happens to humans in microgravity conditions? How do space conditions affect the human body? How can we prevent adverse effects on long-term spaceflight? Scientists on Earth are also asking themselves these kinds of questions. And they're coming up with answers, despite the occurrence of gravity. The researchers can outsmart it, as the ongoing bed rest study at :envihab, our aerospace medicine research facility, demonstrates. Here, eight men and four women lie in bed for 30 days straight. The head end of each bed is tilted six degrees downwards and there is no pillow. In these conditions, body fluids are distributed as they would be in microgravity, flowing from the legs towards the head. The test participants are 'astronauts on Earth'. read more

Space | 02. July 2019 | posted by Friederike Wütscher

AGBRESA - After the first lying down phase, preparations for the second campaign begin

Credit: DLR
One of the AGBRESA test participants completing the rehabilitation programme

The first campaign of the Artificial Gravity Bed Rest Study (AGBRESA) is over, the 12 test participants have moved out and all the utensils, beds, equipment and instruments have been checked and stored away. The majority of staff can now enjoy a breather before preparations begin in August for the second campaign, which will start early in the following month. Now, those involved have some time to draw conclusions from the first campaign. read more

Space | 07. June 2019 | posted by Eric Bershad

AGBRESA – Centrifuge rides against changes in astronauts’ vision

Image: DLR.
The team around Eric Bershad (second from left)

Participants in AGBRESA are on a long-duration mission to advance our understanding of the effects of spaceflight on the human body. During the AGBRESA mission, our team, Eric Bershad, Karina Marshall-Goebel and others, seek to understand how long-duration exposure to a six-degree head-down tilt, a spaceflight analogue, affects brain and eye health. read more

Space | 06. June 2019 | posted by Bed-rest-study

AGBRESA – A participant's tale: Reaching the finishing line through sheer will power

Credit: DLR (CC-BY 3.0)
The :envihab facility at the DLR site in Cologne

HDT 47. Forty-seventh day of bedrest. Another 13 days – and what's left of today. Yesterday I spoke with my wife on the phone. She still can't imagine what would possess a person to volunteer for 60 days in bed without even a pillow. “Do you never feel the urge to get up?” she asks. One of the support staff asked me a similar question just recently. With less than two weeks of bedrest left on the schedule it seems an apt time to answer this question. My summary is simple: it was exactly the way I imagined. read more

Space | 28. May 2019 | posted by Bed-rest-study

AGBRESA – terrestrial astronauts’ experiences of training on the centrifuge

Image: DLR.
The short-arm human centrifuge is a major component of the AGBRESA bed-rest study

The AGBRESA study is the first to explore using the DLR short-arm human centrifuge as a possible mitigation for the negative effects of weightlessness, which are being simulated by bed rest. This involves eight of the 12 terrestrial astronauts – the AGBRESA bedrest study participants – spinning in the centrifuge for 30 minutes every day. To allow them to experience artificial gravity they adopt a specific position – supine with heads pointed inwards – which exposes their feet to two g (twice Earth gravity) and the centre of gravity of their bodies to one g (Earth gravity).  This could become a training method for future long-term missions in space. By the end of their 60 days of bed rest, the participants will have spent 1800 minutes on the centrifuge and will have rotated 54,000 times!. read more

Space | 24. May 2019 | posted by Reinhold Ewald

Reinhold Ewald visits AGBRESA participants – from astronaut to explornaut

Image: DLR
From astronaut to explornaut – Reinhold Ewald visits the 12 AGBRESA bed-rest study participants.

The spaceship hatch is open, so pressure equalisation with the outside world has clearly already taken place. Standing before the :envihab facility in Cologne early on a Monday evening on my way to a special kind of ‘nauts’, namely ‘explornauts’, I feel as if I’m about to enter a space station. While Earth’s astronauts have not come much closer to their goal – the stars (astro-) – explornauts are in a comparatively better position. On the way to new inventions and discoveries, which explorers have always made, one does not always need impressive technology; sometimes a bed inclined down at the head end by six degrees is sufficient. read more

Space | 22. May 2019 | posted by Friederike Wütscher

AGBRESA: HyperCampus – How does artificial gravity affect plasticity of the brain?

Credit: DLR
Tests with the VR headset were conducted even before the bedrest period as part of the HyperCampus experiment by Alexander Stahn

"Do not disturb – Experiment ongoing!" is the message hanging from the door of participants' rooms during the AGBRESA studies. Often, a concession of scientists and medical staff march in and out of the participants' rooms – which are usually open – to administer various experiments – to transport them via gurney to the experiments in the nearby modules of the aerospace medicine research facility: envihab. read more