Researchers have developed a plan to minimize astronauts’ muscle atrophy

Deepak Gupta July 20, 2022
Updated 2022/07/20 at 2:06 PM

We have already seen here that the astronaut corps does not return the same from space travel. Once looking for solutions to the various problems that arise as a result of the missions, a group of researchers created a plan to prevent professionals from experiencing muscle atrophy.

The plan involves muscle stimulation exercises.


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In addition to a number of other functions, skeletal muscles are responsible for maintaining posture, allowing humans to move against the force of gravity. However, when these muscles go long periods of time without experiencing gravity, as happens during space missions, they tend to atrophy. This change changes not only its structure, but also its properties.

In fact, this motor deterioration, which results in difficulty in walking, for example, has often been recorded in astronauts upon their return from space - not even those who exercise during travel have escaped.

Astronaut muscles under analysis

researchers from Doshisha University analyzed how the morphological, functional and metabolic properties of the neuromuscular system respond to reduced antigravity activities. First, they analyzed human and rat simulation models, and also saw how afferent and efferent motoneuronal activity regulates neuromuscular properties.

To this end, afferent neurons carry information from sensory receptors in the skin and other organs to the central nervous system, such as the brain and spinal cord, and efferent neurons carry motor information from the central nervous system to the muscles and glands of the body. .

Astronaut

The study carried out by the Japanese researchers concluded that afferent neural activity plays a key role in the regulation of muscle properties and brain activity.

In a domino fashion, the inhibition of antigravity muscle activities results in the remodeling of the structural units of the muscles, which, in turn, causes a decrease in their number, consequently causing a decrease in the development of force that leads to muscle atrophy.

In addition, other problems can arise when astronauts are exposed to a microgravity environment for a period of six months or more.

The data collected by the researchers allowed the development of an exercise plan adapted to astronauts, with a view to minimizing muscle atrophy that results from space travel.

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