How Can the Research of Osteoporosis Being Done in Space to Help Prevent it From Occurring on Earth? : Student Showcase
The Student Showcase highlights students involved in the Leadership Scholars program. This month the student showcase highlights Leadership Institute Scholar Meghan McCabe ’19. Meghan’s presentation was titled “How Can the Research of Osteoporosis Being Done in Space to Help Prevent it From Occurring on Earth?”
Meghan’s paper investigates the causes of osteoporosis and how it can be prevented based on research done in space. Osteoporosis is a chronic disease that involves the breaking down of bone tissue. First, we review how osteoporosis occurs in patients on Earth. In space, astronauts suffer bone loss due to the lack of weight-bearing activity on the International Space Station. NASA set up the Early Detection of Osteoporosis in Space project to specifically investigate experiments regarding bone loss in space. Possible cures for the disease have been found from studies both publicly and privately sponsored in space and on earth. Experiments conducted by NASA that prove the interchangeability between methods on Earth and in Space.
The paper reviewed a controlled study done in space with mice. The mice were given an antibody that would help with bone growth. This study led to the development of a new drug that prevents bone loss. The paper synthesizes research done by universities, NASA, and private companies. It investigates the ability for cures in space to be applied on Earth, concluding with the determination that, the research being done in space can be transferred to Earth and be used to prevent osteoporosis.
As a result of her work, Meghan was contacted last summer by one of the NASA scientists she listed in the bibliography of her paper. She was very surprised, as she did not contact the scientist herself; however the scientist had learned about the research paper and contacted Meghan, As a result, Meghan already has two contacts at NASA, where she is thinking of working when she graduates from college.