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Experimental Section

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Space, Gravity and the Physiology of Aging: Parallel or Convergent Disciplines? A Mini-Review

Vernikos J.a · Schneider V.S.b

Author affiliations

aLife Sciences, NASA and Thirdage llc, Culpeper, Va., bOffice of the Chief Health and Medical Officer and Explorations Systems Mission Directorate, NASA, Washington, D.C., and Uniformed Services University, Bethesda, Md., USA

Corresponding Author

Dr. Joan Vernikos

Thirdage llc

2028 Golf Drive

Culpeper, VA 22701 (USA)

Tel. +1 540 829 2541, E-Mail dr.joan@joanvernikos.com

Related Articles for ""

Gerontology 2010;56:157–166

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The abnormal physiology that manifests itself in healthy humans during their adaptation to the microgravity of space has all the features of accelerated aging. The mechano-skeletal and vestibulo-neuromuscular stimuli which are below threshold in space, result in an overall greater than 10-fold more rapid onset and time course of muscle and bone atrophy in space and the development of balance and coordination problems on return to Earth than occur with aging. Similarly, the loss of functional capacity of the cardiovascular system that results in space and continuous bed rest is over 10 times faster than in the course of aging. Deconditioning in space from gravity deprivation has brought attention to the medical hazards of deconditioning on Earth from gravity withdrawal as in sedentary aging. Though seemingly reversible after periods of 6 months in space or its ground analog of bed rest, it remains to be seen whether that will be so after longer exposures. Both adaptation to space and aging do not merely parallel but converge as disorders of mechanotransduction. Like spaceflight, its analog bed rest telescopes the changes observed with aging and serves as a useful clinical model for the study of age-related deconditioning. The convergence of the disciplines of aging, along with gravitational and space physiology is advancing the understanding and prevention of modern lifestyle medical disorders.

© 2009 S. Karger AG, Basel

Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Experimental Section

Received: April 17, 2009
Accepted: August 27, 2009
Published online: October 23, 2009
Issue release date: March 2010

Number of Print Pages: 10
Number of Figures: 0
Number of Tables: 0

ISSN: 0304-324X (Print)
eISSN: 1423-0003 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/GER

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