NASA isn't just for space!
In fact, NASA has a WIDE range of scientific awesomeness going on at all times — including, but not limited to, a new test that detects bone loss early!
They actually teamed up with Arizona State University to develop a new technique that can detect bone loss earlier than currently used X-ray methods, which would be fab because of obvious radiation reasons!
Here's how a NASA nutritionist connects it to space, though:
"NASA conducts these studies because astronauts in microgravity experience skeletal unloading and suffer bone loss. It's one of the major problems in human spaceflight, and we need to find better ways to monitor and counteract it. But the methods used to detect the effects of skeletal unloading in astronauts are also relevant to general medicine."
We'll take it, for whatever reasons!
The test works by looking for traces of bone calcium in urine, called isotopes. They tested it on people who they made stay on bed rest.
Why? Because when you're off your feet, your bones start to deteriorate (hello, antigravity!).
Amazingly, they could measure net bone loss in as little as one week after bed rest, long before changes in bone density are detectable by the commonly used X-Ray testing!
It's safe, too: the isotopes can be found without any artificial dyes and without radiation exposure.
Isotope imbalance testing may even lead to the diagnosis of cancer and other diseases, too!
Keep it up, space cadets!
Science! Science! Science!
[Image via AP Images.]