A Computational Model for Simulating Spaceflight Induced Bone Remodeling
Pennline, James A.
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An overview of an initial development of a model of bone loss due to skeletal unloading in weight bearing sites is presented. The skeletal site chosen for the initial application of the model is the femoral neck region because hip fractures can be debilitating to the overall performance health of astronauts. The paper begins with the motivation for developing such a model of the time course of change in bone in order to understand the mechanism of bone demineralization experienced by astronauts in microgravity, to quantify the health risk, and to establish countermeasures. Following this, a general description of a mathematical formulation of the process of bone remodeling is discussed. Equations governing the rate of change of mineralized bone volume fraction and active osteoclast and osteoblast are illustrated. Some of the physiology of bone remodeling, the theory of how imbalance in remodeling can cause bone loss, and how the model attempts to capture this is discussed. The results of a preliminary validation analysis that was carried out are presented. The analysis compares a set of simulation results against bone loss data from control subjects who participated in two different bed rest studies. Finally, the paper concludes with outlining the current limations and caveats of the model, and planned future work to enhance the state of the model.