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NASA Medicine Science

NASA, ASU Team Finds a New Test For Osteoporosis 46

An anonymous reader writes "The BBC has an article about scientists at NASA who believe that they have found a new test that can detect osteoporosis earlier than existing tests. Their test involved having healthy volunteers confined to bed rest for 30 days; 'the technique was able to detect bone loss after as little as one week of bed rest.' Bone loss is an issue for astronauts as well as people affected by osteoporosis. They expect this test will help detect bone loss as a symptom of osteoporosis, but have not yet done a trial to confirm this. This is another point against anyone who claims NASA, and going to space in general, is a complete waste of money."
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NASA, ASU Team Finds a New Test For Osteoporosis

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  • by Warma ( 1220342 ) on Wednesday May 30, 2012 @02:30AM (#40152513)

    The problem with bedrest (among the obvious ones of removing the subject from useful tasks for a month) is that it causes a large amount of muscle loss and the very bone loss it is trying to detect. What's more, the bone loss from immobilization is rapid and it may take years to recover from. Alternatively, you may never recover from it fully.
    I am a researcher working in the field, and there is a moderate amount of data available from immobilization studies like this (both russian and american) Based on what I know, I'd gladly take a DXA scan over bedrest just based on the risks and accounting for effectiveness, all other factors nonwithstanding.

    Even if this method is more effective, ultrasound-based screening methods, which have neither the cost or the radiation dose of an X-ray, are becoming available. As osteoporosis is easy to treat if detected early, in all likelihood this problem will be solved this generation.

If I had only known, I would have been a locksmith. -- Albert Einstein