Evaluating Bone Loss in ISS Astronauts

Aerosp Med Hum Perform. 2015 Dec;86(12 Suppl):A38-A44. doi: 10.3357/AMHP.EC06.2015.


The measurement of bone mineral density (BMD) by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) is the Medical Assessment Test used at the NASA Johnson Space Center to evaluate whether prolonged exposure to spaceflight increases the risk for premature osteoporosis in International Space Station (ISS) astronauts. The DXA scans of crewmembers' BMD during the first decade of the ISS existence showed precipitous declines in BMD for the hip and spine after the typical 6-mo missions. However, a concern exists that skeletal integrity cannot be sufficiently assessed solely by DXA measurement of BMD. Consequently, use of relatively new research technologies is being proposed to NASA for risk surveillance and to enhance long-term management of skeletal health in long-duration astronauts. Sibonga JD, Spector ER, Johnston SL, Tarver WJ. Evaluating bone loss in ISS astronauts.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Adult
  • Astronauts*
  • Bone Density*
  • Female
  • Femur / diagnostic imaging
  • Femur Neck / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / diagnostic imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoporosis / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pelvic Bones / diagnostic imaging
  • Space Flight*
  • Spacecraft