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Effects of a microgravity SkinSuit on lumbar geometry and kinematics.

Breen, A., Carvil, P., Green, D. A., Russomano, T. and Breen, A., 2023. Effects of a microgravity SkinSuit on lumbar geometry and kinematics. European Spine Journal. (In Press)

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s00586-022-07454-x.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.


DOI: 10.1007/s00586-022-07454-x


PURPOSE: Astronauts returning from long ISS missions have demonstrated an increased incidence of lumbar disc herniation accompanied by biomechanical and morphological changes associated with spine elongation. This research describes a ground-based study of the effects of an axial compression countermeasure Mk VI SkinSuit designed to reload the spine and reduce these changes before return to terrestrial gravity. METHODS: Twenty healthy male volunteers aged 21-36 without back pain participated. Each lay overnight on a Hyper Buoyancy Flotation (HBF) bed for 12 h on two occasions 6 weeks apart. On the second occasion participants donned a Mk VI SkinSuit designed to axially load the spine at 0.2 Gz during the last 4 h of flotation. Immediately after each exposure, participants received recumbent MRI and flexion-extension quantitative fluoroscopy scans of their lumbar spines, measuring differences between spine geometry and intervertebral kinematics with and without the SkinSuit. This was followed by the same procedure whilst weight bearing. Paired comparisons were performed for all measurements. RESULTS: Following Mk VI SkinSuit use, participants evidenced more flexion RoM at L3-4 (p = 0.01) and L4-5 (p = 0.003), more translation at L3-4 (p = 0.02), lower dynamic disc height at L5-S1 (p = 0.002), lower lumbar spine length (p = 0.01) and greater lordosis (p = 0.0001) than without the Mk VI SkinSuit. Disc cross-sectional area and volume were not significantly affected. CONCLUSION: The MkVI SkinSuit restores lumbar mobility and lordosis following 4 h of wearing during hyper buoyancy flotation in a healthy control population and may be an effective countermeasure for post space flight lumbar disc herniation.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Back pain; Diagnosis; Disc hernia; Kinematics; Spaceflight
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:38081
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:25 Jan 2023 14:23
Last Modified:25 Jan 2023 14:23


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