Dec. 10, 2012 â€” A UC Irvine researcher is part of a NASA effort to understand more about bone density loss during astronautsâ€™ lengthy stays aboard the International Space Station.
Joyce Keyak, professor in residence of radiological sciences, will employ a technique she created to analyze how microgravity-influenced changes to the hip bone might increase astronautsâ€™ fracture risk during spaceflight, upon returning to Earth and with subsequent aging.
Using information derived from Keyakâ€™s method â€“ which she developed to evaluate hip fracture risk in the elderly â€“ the research group will produce a database of hip strengths from population studies with subjects the same ages as NASAâ€™s astronaut corps and older.
â€śAstronauts are relatively young, and the database will cover this age range and up, including the elderly and both men and women,â€ť Keyak said. â€śThis data will be combined with data from a study in Iceland that measured bone strengths of subjects who subsequently had hip fractures and others who did not have hip fractures.â€ť
Findings from this NASA study will inform new bone medical standards recommendations and clinical practice guidelines for reducing occupational health risks in astronauts.
Keyak has participated in previous NASA efforts to develop therapeutic guidelines addressing the risk of early-onset, age-related osteoporosis in astronauts on long-duration space missions. In 2010, she gave a lecture at the Johnson Space Center in Houston on the topic, and she participated in a 2009 study of 13 astronauts who spent four to six months on the International Space Station â€“ which revealed wide differences in the loss of bone strength.
About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is a top-ranked university dedicated to research, scholarship and community service. Led by Chancellor Michael Drake since 2005, UCI is among the most dynamic campuses in the University of California system, with more than 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students, 1,100 faculty and 9,400 staff. Orange Countyâ€™s second-largest employer, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $4.3 billion. For more UCI news, visit news.uci.edu.
News Radio: UCI maintains on campus an ISDN line for conducting interviews with its faculty and experts. Use of this line is available for a fee to radio news programs/stations that wish to interview UCI faculty and experts. Use of the ISDN line is subject to availability and approval by the university.