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Bone research in Space Symposium, June 2, IOF World Congress on Osteoporosis

Though most people may not think of it, bedridden patients and astronauts share something in common: progressive bone loss. Immobile patients lose bone density because they don't exercise muscles that would otherwise build skeletal strength through motion. Astronauts also face long periods of immobility, in addition to zero gravity, which negatively affects bone cell function.

On June 2, 2006, space explorers and earth-bound medical experts will examine the links between immobility and bone health at the Bone Research in Space Symposium, which will be held in Toronto, Canada, as part of the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) World Congress on Osteoporosis (IOF WCO).

Canadian Space Agency astronaut and physician Dr. Dave Williams, who is the first Canadian to have lived in both the ocean and space, is one of the panel of Symposium experts.

"As we enter the latter half of the Bone and Joint Decade it is exciting to think about the potential benefits of using space technology and countermeasures to prevent osteoporosis in our aging population," Williams said. "Understanding the protective effect of appropriate nutrition, calcium supplements and exercise in combination with medications will be important for astronauts particularly on long duration flights and future exploration missions to the Moon and Mars. Similar approaches may help maintain bone density in the elderly and possibly reduce the profound health consequences of osteoporosis."

The Symposia culminates months of intensive preparation by the International Space Life Sciences Working Group (ISPLSWG), chaired by Dr. Ronald Zernicke, from the University of Calgary. Numerous international space agencies will participate, representing countries including Canada, the United States, Ukraine, Japan, Germany, Italy, France, and the Netherlands. According to Zernicke, the Symposia will identify country-specific agendas concerning terrestrial and space-based bone research, a
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Contact: Janice Blondeau
jblondeau@osteofound.org
International Osteoporosis Foundation
1-Jun-2006


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