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Galileo® Space at the Toulouse bedrest study


Bed rest in the name of science

Repeatedly and successfully the technology of Galileo Training has been applied in international space research to avoid loss of muscle and bone during simulated weightlessness. Last week a new bedrest study was launched by the European Space Agency (ESA) in Toulouse, carried out by the Institut de Médecine et de Physiologie Spatiales (MEDES - IMPS). Galileo Space is present again and is employed as a reference method for effective astronaut training.

Why do 12 volunteers agree to lie in bed three times within a year for 21 days each, with a head -down tilt of 6°? They do it because it is a recognised condition for simulated weightlessness, because the gravitational weight is reduced by the horizontal position. The participants are not allowed to stand up, not even to get some fresh air or to visit the bathroom. This absolute bed rest causes similar reactions in the body as weightlessness, but it is simpler and cheaper to perform than to send the participants into space.

Without gravity the body loses muscle and bone. Particularly this fact would result in serious problems during long-term missions such as a trip to Mars. As in earlier studies the new study is therefore performed to find a better understanding about the challenges of a long-term stay in space and find measures to counteract the bone and muscle degradation. In Toulouse, the additional impact of a tailored nutrition on the workout is investigated.

The 12 participants were divided into three groups. The control group spends time in bed without any form of countermeasure. The second group trained according to a fixed training schedule on Galileo Space. Similarly to the Berlin BedRest studies a variant of Galileo High Intensity Training (HIT) is used. The last group also completes the training, but in addition nutrition supplements widely used among bodybuilders are applied. The aim of the study is to examine the right combination of exercise and nutrition. Therefore, the Galileo Training again was significantly reduced compared to the last Berlin BedRest study (BBR2). With this deliberately suboptimal training of only 2 * 4 minutes per week the positive effects of the diet on the maintenance of muscle and bone shall be demonstrated.

After the first 21 days, the participants meet four months later again for the second round in the hospital at Medes. The third round starts then until 2013.

The results from Toulouse are not only important for the space research but also for practical help here on earth: in sport, health promotion or in therapy to help, for example, patients, that are unable to perform a normal muscle training.

Further information

Background information

Berlin BedRest studies (BBR1 And BBR2)

The huge advantages Galileo Training provides for long-term astronauts were already shown by the two Berlin bedrest studies of the Centre for Muscle and Bone Research at the Charité in Berlin under the direction of Professor Dieter Felsenberg that were performed between 2003 and 2009 on behalf of ESA. In both studies Galileo Training could prevent the loss of muscle and bone in "terrestrial astronauts" almost completely. This was already demonstrated in the first study. In the second study the training methods to be further optimised. Thus about 15 minutes per week High Intensity Training (HIT) on Galileo is already sufficient to prevent the muscle and bone loss of the astronauts.

Further information

Product groups: Galileo® Therapy Systems, Galileo® Training Devices
Topics: Therapy & Prevention with Galileo®, Training with Galileo®