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CFT 70 Countermeasure and Functional Testing in Head-Down Tilt Bed Rest

70-day study to test the effectiveness of exercise on loss of muscle, bone and cardiovascular function.

NASA scientists are working to find ways to keep astronauts healthier and safer when they spend a long time in space. Head down bed rest is a good way to mimic a person traveling in space without gravity.

Head-down bed rest helps researchers study people on earth in a way that causes some of the changes the body goes through while traveling in space without gravity. This study will show how much your body, tilted down slightly with head down and feet up, for 70 days, 24-hours a day, without getting out of bed, except for limited times for specific tests, is like an astronaut’s body during the weightlessness of space flight. Watching you will help scientists learn how an astronaut’s body will change in weightlessness during space flight in the future.

Subjects in this study will be tested on set of seven functional tests (Functional Task Tests) and a corresponding set of physiological measures before and after 70 days of bed rest. Results of the study will help us
  • Understand which mission tasks might be affected by changes in physiology during space flight,
  • Understand how physiological changes map to a person’s ability to do a particular task, and
  • Design countermeasures to prevent or minimize impairment to these physiological systems
The study will also evaluate the effectiveness of a new exercise program to maintain muscle size and strength, bone health, and cardiovascular function during 70 days of bed rest. The exercise program is called the countermeasure and functional testing (CFT) study.

Exercise Program
 If you are a subject who participates in the exercise program your exercise training during bed rest will be conducted in the lying down position on specially designed exercise equipment. Your aerobic exercise will use a treadmill and cycle. Your resistance (weight lifting) exercise will use special weight machines. You will participate in a three-week pre-training program, where you will become familiar with the equipment and attend sessions to practice the exercises in the pre-bed rest phase.

Specific exercises and intensities are rotated such that each workout is different, with some days being heavier and some lighter. On resistance training days, you will do 30 minutes of continuous moderate intensity aerobic exercise. On alternate days, you also will do high intensity interval aerobic exercise. Interval aerobic exercise alternates with periods of exercise and periods of rest.

An example of the aerobic and resistance exercise training schedule is provided below.

Time Commitment
If you decide to participate in the study, you will be scheduled to spend about 97 or 105 days living in the bed rest facility of NASA’s Flight Analogs Research Unit (FARU) at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, TX. Exercising subjects will spend 105 days and non-exercising subjects will spend 97 days at the research unit. Scheduling will depend on the number of beds and your availability.

Ambulatory Period
During the first 13 days for non-exercising subjects, or the first 21 days for exercising subjects, you will be free to move around inside the bed rest facility and do normal things.

Bed Rest Period
After the first 13 or 21 day period, you will spend 70 days lying in bed, with your body slightly tilted downward (head down, feet up).

Recovery Period
During the final 14 days of the study, you will again be free to move about within the facility. Because of deconditioning that takes place during bed rest, you will slowly begin normal everyday activity. You will participate in the reconditioning activities that are arranged for you during this time.

During all phases of the study, you will take part in tests of your bone, muscle, heart and circulatory systems, and nervous systems, as well as your nutritional condition and your ability to fight off infections.

This research project has been reviewed by the Institutional Review Board (a committee which reviews medical research studies involving human subjects for safety and ethics) of the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

Note: Subjects are not needed at this time.
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