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Muscle stiffness indicating mission crew health in space

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Item Type:Article
Title:Muscle stiffness indicating mission crew health in space
Creators Name:Schoenrock, B. and Muckelt, P.E. and Hastermann, M. and Albracht, K. and MacGregor, R. and Martin, D. and Gunga, H.C. and Salanova, M. and Stokes, M.J. and Warner, M.B. and Blottner, D.
Abstract:Muscle function is compromised by gravitational unloading in space affecting overall musculoskeletal health. Astronauts perform daily exercise programmes to mitigate these effects but knowing which muscles to target would optimise effectiveness. Accurate inflight assessment to inform exercise programmes is critical due to lack of technologies suitable for spaceflight. Changes in mechanical properties indicate muscle health status and can be measured rapidly and non-invasively using novel technology. A hand-held MyotonPRO device enabled monitoring of muscle health for the first time in spaceflight (> 180 days). Greater/maintained stiffness indicated countermeasures were effective. Tissue stiffness was preserved in the majority of muscles (neck, shoulder, back, thigh) but Tibialis Anterior (foot lever muscle) stiffness decreased inflight vs. preflight (p < 0.0001; mean difference 149 N/m) in all 12 crewmembers. The calf muscles showed opposing effects, Gastrocnemius increasing in stiffness Soleus decreasing. Selective stiffness decrements indicate lack of preservation despite daily inflight countermeasures. This calls for more targeted exercises for lower leg muscles with vital roles as ankle joint stabilizers and in gait. Muscle stiffness is a digital biomarker for risk monitoring during future planetary explorations (Moon, Mars), for healthcare management in challenging environments or clinical disorders in people on Earth, to enable effective tailored exercise programmes.
Keywords:Astronauts, Exercise, Gait, Skeletal Muscle, Space Flight
Source:Scientific Reports
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
Page Range:4196
Date:20 February 2024
Official Publication:https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-024-54759-6
PubMed:View item in PubMed

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