WISE study starts in Toulouse: 60 days of bed-rest for terrestrial female astronauts

Mar 21, 2005

Since Saturday, 19 March, the study entitled Women International Space Simulation for Exploration (WISE) has been fully under way. All participants in the first of two campaigns have been lying in bed, tilted head down at an angle of 6º below horizontal, so that their heads are slightly lower than their feet.
This position results in physiological changes that also occur in astronauts during space flight. The study will assess the roles of nutrition and combined physical exercise in countering the adverse effects of prolonged gravitational unloading by bed-rest.

The first volunteers arrived at the MEDES Space Clinic in Toulouse on 22 February for the start of the collection of physiological data, which will serve as the baseline data throughout the whole study. This preliminary period lasted 20 days, after which the first two volunteers went to bed; the last two, who arrived on 27 February, did so on 19 March.

More than 1600 women responded to the ESA call for candidates, which closed in January. As planned, twelve women were selected for this first campaign. They come from France, Great Britain, Germany, Finland, The Netherlands, Poland, and the Czech Republic, so that the WISE study also attracted great interest in the new member countries of the European Union.

This study is a joint venture between the European Space Agency (ESA), the French space agency (CNES), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). It is being carried out by MEDES, the French Institute for Space Medicine and Physiology, in the clinical research facility at the Rangueil hospital in Toulouse, France.

WISE needs 24 female volunteers altogether, who will remain in bed for a total duration of 60 days. The test subjects will be divided into three groups of eight. One will be the control group, receiving no extra stimulus over the course of the bed-rest period. The second group will undertake an exercise programme whilst in bed. The third will receive a nutritional supplement throughout the 60 days.

For the 20 days prior to the bed rest period, the test subjects will take part in the collection of baseline data. During the 20 days following the bed-rest period they will undergo similar tests for comparison with the baseline data. The WISE study is being conducted in two campaigns, with 12 volunteers in each. The second campaign starts in September. Volunteers can still apply.

The data collected by WISE will be used to draw conclusions about such aspects as muscle condition, blood parameters, cardiovascular condition, coordination of movements, changes in immune system, bone formation and psychological wellbeing. External experts reviewed all scientific protocols of the study prior to selection, and the responsible French ethical committee in Toulouse has approved the integrated study design of WISE.

With the European Space Agency’s future plans for human space exploration, the results expected from WISE will prove valuable in planning long-duration human missions. This research will also have clinical significance on Earth, advancing knowledge and pointing to improved methods of assisting recovery by bedridden patients. Studying the early effects of reduced activity on a molecular level is expected to provide further evidence of the benefits of regular exercise in the prevention of conditions like type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.

Source: NASA

Explore further: Solar storm arrives at Earth, but not a problem

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

On global warming, settled science and George Brandis

Apr 23, 2014

The Australian Attorney General, Senator George Brandis is no stranger to controversy. His statement in parliament that "people do have a right to be bigots" rapidly gained him notoriety, and it isn't hard to understand why ...

Review: Windows Phone innovations show promise

Mar 26, 2014

In the market for smartphones, Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 system is barely there. It's dwarfed by Apple's iOS and Google's Android systems in both attention and sales.

Recommended for you

SpaceX's next cargo launch set for Sept 20

Sep 12, 2014

SpaceX's next unmanned cargo trip to restock supplies at the International Space Station is scheduled for September 20, the US space agency said Friday.

Not just cool – it's a gas

Sep 12, 2014

In space, a new way of producing gas is being tested for steering satellites. On Earth, it is now fighting fires without harming the environment – and business insiders say it could be revolutionary.

The entropy of black holes

Sep 12, 2014

Yesterday I talked about black hole thermodynamics, specifically how you can write the laws of thermodynamics as laws about black holes. Central to the idea of thermodynamics is the property of entropy, which c ...

Modified theory of dark matter

Sep 12, 2014

Dark matter is an aspect of the universe we still don't fully understand. We have lots of evidence pointing to its existence (as I outlined in a series of posts a while back), and the best evidence we have point ...

Gaia discovers its first supernova

Sep 12, 2014

(Phys.org) —While scanning the sky to measure the positions and movements of stars in our Galaxy, Gaia has discovered its first stellar explosion in another galaxy far, far away.

User comments : 0