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A. A Researcher Studies Astronaut Bone Loss for Space Biology Agency

Narrator: This is Science Today. A University of California , San Francisco research fellow at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center has been chosen to study astronaut bone loss for the National Space Biomedical Research Institute. Dr. Robert Long will focus on the causes and possible methods of treating bone loss, which results from the prolonged weightlessness of space travel. In particular, he'll look at a hormone involved in bone growth called IGF-1.

Long: So, what we'd like to do is come up with the means in which we can stimulate the bones so they can respond to IGF-1, regain some of these bone strength, prevent the bone loss associated with weightlessness.

Narrator: This type of bone loss, called skeletal unloading, does not respond to IGF-1, so Long says he'll be looking at ways to jumpstart this hormone.

Long: So, in the model we have created, we can apply these loads to limbs and to bones so it mimics to some degree what's normally found in a walking individual and see if that is enough of a stimulus to regain the IGF-1.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.