Researchers study impact of space radiation on bone and muscle health

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Researchers study impact of space radiation on bone and muscle health
Credit: Virginia Commonwealth University

New research by Henry J. Donahue, Ph.D., chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering and School of Engineering Foundation Professor at the VCU School of Engineering, suggests that space radiation may cause astronauts in outer space to lose additional bone but not more muscle.


The findings raise intriguing questions about the relationship between and muscle, especially for humans on Earth dealing with age-related bone and .


While in the reduced gravity of , astronauts lose bone and muscle from their legs, hips and lower backs.


“Bone is a very dynamic tissue,” said Donahue, who is principal investigator of a project funded by NASA and the National Space Biomedical Research Institute. “As more demands are put on it, it gets bigger to meet those demands.” On the other hand, with fewer demands in , “your body won’t waste time building bone.”

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