Professor G. Scott Hubbard on space tourism – Lonely Planet's travel blog

Professor G. Scott Hubbard on space tourism – Lonely Planet’s travel blog


In this guest post, Stanford University’s Professor G. Scott Hubbard – former Director of NASA’s Ames Research Center, founding editor-in-chief of the New Space journal, and author of Exploring Mars: Chronicles from a Decade of Discovery – looks at whether the travel industry is heading for the final frontier.

Having been active in the US space program for 45 years, both with NASA and now Stanford, I’ve seen many proposals suggesting that personal space travel is right around the corner. While this topic has been discussed in science fiction for more than 60 years, making such an experience a reality has been hampered by significant obstacles, both technical and financial. However, during the last decade or two, the world has seen the emergence of wealthy space entrepreneurs who have hired top-notch engineers. Those teams may well now be on the verge of creating space travel for the (well-heeled) extreme adventurer.

Will you ever see this view from a spaceship’s window? © Michael Hopkins / NASA

Where is outer space?

The usual definition is that space begins at 100 kilometres/60 miles above the surface of the Earth where air is almost non-existent, and the clutch of gravity can be escaped. As a practical matter, NASA awards astronaut wings for any pilot that exceeds 50 miles even if he/she does not orbit Earth. (This is called a sub-orbital flight). For comparison, the US Space Shuttle flew at about 300 kilometres/188 miles); the International Space Station (ISS) orbits Earth at 250 miles; from the Earth to the Moon averages about 238,000 miles, and Mars is nearly 140 million miles away! All of these distances and destinations represent some form of space travel, but as you might imagine, the degree of difficulty increases radically the further one goes. As of this writing, over 500 people have been to space as defined above; the vast majority (355) on the Shuttle. But only 18 people have flown to the Moon. And of those, only 12 have walked on the lunar surface. No human has ever travelled to Mars.

What is a space tourist?

All of the people cited above had extensive training and were a member of some nation’s space program. Currently, only the US, Russia and China have the independent ability to launch someone into space. The notion of a private citizen with little or no special training going to space went from science fiction to fact with the trip by billionaire Dennis Tito to the ISS in 2001, aboard a Russian vehicle. A total of seven people have made this journey for a reported cost of USD$20m to $40m per trip. Clearly, this expense is out of the reach of all but the ultra-wealthy. So what about some less ambitious (and less expensive) trip to space – the travel to 50 to 60 miles in a so-called sub-orbital trajectory?

Virgin Galactic's SpaceshipTwo Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo takes off for a suborbital test flight © GENE BLEVINS / Getty Images

Who’s in the game?

Space tourism as a trip to the edge of space (50 to 60 miles) with immediate return received a major boost with the Ansari X-Prize, which awarded $10m to any non-government group that could ‘build and launch a spacecraft capable of carrying three people to 100 kilometres above the Earth’s surface, twice within two weeks’. The prize was won in 2004 by a team funded by billionaire Paul Allen (the co-founder of Microsoft) using a design by the iconoclastic engineer Burt Rutan. The team was joined by another billionaire – Richard Branson of Virgin Group fame. Shortly after winning, Branson announced that a new company, Virgin Galactic, using the Rutan design, would soon begin offering sub-orbital flights for six people (and two pilots), providing four minutes of weightlessness. Another company, XCOR Aerospace, formed during the same period, began to develop a smaller vehicle that would carry one pilot and passenger. Finally, the world’s richest person, Jeff Bezos founder of Amazon, quietly created the company Blue Origin with similar goals in 2000. In the sparse public reports from Blue Origin, their first market is sub-orbital tourism, followed by orbital flight and trips to the Moon. Bezos has said he is spending about $1bn a year on Blue Origin.

What’s the price point?

Virgin Galactic has given a price of about $200,000 per person. XCOR Aerospace (which has since suspended operations) planned to provide a similar flight for reportedly $50,000. (Independent surveys have indicated that extreme adventure with a price tag of $50,000 would begin to attract a great deal of interest.) Blue Origin’s price tag is said to be $250,000. It is worth noting that the other high-profile space entrepreneur, Elon Musk and his company SpaceX, has not entered the sub-orbital business. However, in a public speech in 2016 (which you can read in New Space for free), Musk predicted he would be able to send individuals to Mars for about $140,000.

People watch as a SpaceX rocket takes off from Canaveral National Seashore People watch as a SpaceX rocket takes off from Canaveral National Seashore © Paul Hennessy / Getty Images

What are the risks?

Travel to space is inherently risky, but then so is climbing Mt Everest. During the 135 flights of the Shuttle program, there were two major accidents with loss of crew and vehicle: Challenger in 1986 and Columbia in 2003. By that measure, the chance of dying in a trip to orbit is around 1 ½%. One would assume that a sub-orbital flight would be safer, but the initial flights of Branson’s Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo have already produced one test pilot fatality. High-speed rocketry with propulsion of controlled chemical explosions is still a challenge. In addition, there are the biomedical risks of subjecting a ‘normal’ population to some of the rigours of space travel: high accelerations up to eight times Earth’s gravity, weightlessness where some experience debilitating space sickness and greater than average radiation exposure. Fortunately, experiments by Dr James Vanderploeg from the University of Texas indicate that individuals of ages 18 to 85 with a variety of common issues (artificial joints, controlled hypertension, pacemaker implants, etc) can easily withstand simulated trips using ground centrifuges and parabolic aeroplane flights. This can also be read in New Space.

When will this happen?

The sub-orbital space tourism community has collectively been surprised that it is now almost 15 years since the X-Prize was won, yet there are no regular flights of SpaceShipTwo or the New Shephard of Blue Origin. The answer mostly lies in the realm of technical issues; in a way, it is ‘rocket science’. Virgin Galactic has struggled to find a propulsion system that will operate smoothly to propel the six passengers to at least 50 miles. However, a very recent successful test in February of 2019 gives an indication that Virgin Galactic may be almost ready. Blue Origin has been very secretive about their progress, but it appears from test flights that the New Shephard is also nearing operational status.

Barring another accident, I think 2019 will see the first tourist flights to the edge of space and back. All it will take is $200,000 and the willingness to sign an ‘informed consent’ document!

To find out more about space entrepreneurship and innovation, check out the New Space journal. Professor Hubbard’s book, Exploring Mars: Chronicles from a Decade of Discovery, is available from the University of Arizona Press, as well as Amazon and Barnes & Noble.



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IPHONE-CASES

Summary Of Iphone Add-ons

Because the iphone has proven to be a widely popular item on the consumer electronic and computer system market, it is no surprise that there are a variety of iphone devices that have actually debuted on the marketplace. Now, some might be dismissive of the advent of the accessories seeing much of the devices as unnecessary (this, by the way, is a completely inaccurate notion, albeit one held by lots of who have slowly become negative customers).

There are a number of important devices that provide terrific value to extending the life of the iphone. Granted, the owners of the iphone seriously need to think about taking appropriate care of the iphone and its accessories in order to preserve the functionality of the iphone.

Iphone devices are not going to be worth much to you or your iphone’s operating if they are not effectively maintained. Think about the following: if you leave your iphone accessories by an open window and it rains, the devices are going to be damaged. (On second thought, it may have already took place a couple of times by now) There is an ethical, nevertheless, to the example provided: if you are going to invest into a series of crucial devices, they should be correctly taken care of or the loan investment on not only the devices, however the iphone as well will be utterly lost.

Of course, there will be those who feel that iphone devices may be rather out of their budget plan of affordability. In order to drive at this decision, one should separate those items that are helpful in the iphone’s operation such as battery chargers vs. those items that are not completely essential such as bring cases.

Because the iphone has actually shown to be a commonly popular product on the customer electronic and computer market, it is no surprise that there are a number of iphone devices that have debuted on the market. Given, the owners of the iphone seriously require to think about taking correct care of the iphone and its accessories in order to maintain the performance of the iphone.

Iphone devices are not going to be worth much to you or your iphone’s functioning if they are not properly preserved.

Tiny wearable cameras may improve quality of life in heart failure patients


The ever-present devices that seem to track all our moves can be annoying, intrusive or worse, but for heart failure patients, tiny wearable cameras could prove life-enhancing, according to research presented today at ESC Congress 2019 together with the World Congress of Cardiology.

Minute-by-minute images captured by these little “eyes” provide valuable data on diet, exercise and medication adherence, that can then be used to fine-tune self-management.

“The cameras bring more information to health professionals to really understand the lived experience of heart failure patients and their unique challenges,” stated study first author Susie Cartledge, a registered nurse and dean’s postdoctoral research fellow at Deakin University’s Institute for Physical Activity and Nutrition in Melbourne, Australia. “This is a level of detail and context that will help us tailor their care.”

Something as seemingly trivial as drinking too much fluid—which cameras can “see”—can tax an already burdened heart, leading to a potentially deadly hospital stay.

Heart failure is a chronic condition where the heart isn’t pumping as well as it should be, so the body isn’t getting enough oxygen. There is no cure and limited treatments, meaning that self-care is paramount. Healthcare professionals have traditionally gleaned information on patients’ daily activities from self-reports, which can be unreliable. This “life-logging technique” is still in its infancy, but studies have shown that it gleans useful data.

For this feasibility study, Dr. Cartledge and her colleagues recruited 30 individuals with advanced (NYHA II-III) heart failure from a Melbourne cardiology practice. Participants’ mean age was 73.6, and 60% were male.

Patients attached a wide-angle “narrative clip” to their clothing at about chest height. The cameras, barely two centimetres squared, were worn from morning to night and took still images every 30 seconds.

“You can really just see the context of the patient’s world from chest height,” explained Dr. Cartledge. “We saw their bingo score cards, their families, their friends but we only saw them if they stood in front of a mirror. We felt like we had been with the patient for the day.”

The images revealed no “scandalous” behaviour on the part of the participants, said Dr. Cartledge, but they did highlight areas for improvement. Patients in general needed to increase their exercise and reduce sedentary behaviour that was typically associated with screen time. Participants could also generally improve their diets, for example there was one participant who could cut back on diet sodas, beers at bingo, and cigarettes.

“We can use this information to have a discussion with the patient. Yesterday, one man’s pills sat out on his table for ages before he took them,” continued Dr. Cartledge, who would counsel this patient to take his medication sooner.

Almost all of the participants (93%) said they were happy wearing the camera (the remaining two were neutral). Some went so far as to report that they were reassured “someone was watching over them” or that the cameras spurred them to engage in “good behaviour.” All participants had the option of deleting photos before the research team saw them.

But capturing the images and getting consent from patients was the easy part. By the end of the 30-day study period the authors had a library of more than 600,000 photos which they had to sort through and analyse.

Machine learning techniques grouped the images into four domains: medication management, dietary intake, meal preparation and physical activity. This process had mixed results. It was most successful in identifying diet-related photos (an average of 49% of the time), followed by information on meals (average 40%) and physical activity (average 31%). Drug adherence was the least precise, with an average of only 6%. This may be because prescriptions come in so many different forms—pill strips, bottles, sprays and puffers—making them hard to recognise.

“The sorting is actually extremely difficult,” admitted Dr. Cartledge. She and her colleagues enlisted the help of artificial intelligence experts at Ireland’s Dublin City University to build a more specific platform. Eventually, the team envisions a relatively low-cost venture using a search engine platform and reusable cameras.

The sheer number of images was a limitation, acknowledged the author. And the heart failure findings may not be applicable to other populations, however the study methodology could be implemented for other chronic disease populations. Members of the study group were older, had advanced disease and came from a lower socioeconomic neighbourhood. The author predicted that the system, once refined, will be most helpful for guiding newly diagnosed patients.

“This is the first step,” Dr. Cartledge said. “Patients are happy to wear it. We can see the context of the challenges they face. The next step is to build an artificial intelligence platform to sort the images out in a quick and meaningful way so healthcare practitioners can use it. We’re entering a new frontier.”


Exercise may improve memory in heart failure patients


More information:
The abstract “Seeing is believing: the feasibility and acceptability of using wearable cameras to enhance self-management of heart failure” will be presented during Nursing and Allied Health Professions Investigator Award, Saturday 31 August at 12:40 to 13:40 in Reykjavik-Village 2.

Provided by
European Society of Cardiology

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Tiny wearable cameras may improve quality of life in heart failure patients (2019, August 31)
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apofraxeis-athina

Leach fields: How they work & proper maintenance

Leach fields: How they work & proper maintenance

A leach field is a sewage system ( αποφραξεις αθηνα )that is attached to every drain in your home. These drains may get backed up with solid waste when they should drain out liquid waste. The reason it becomes solid is simply because over time all of the liquid soaps, detergents and actual waste builds up.  As a homeowner,  you want to prevent this from happening and keep it running smoothly to avoid destruction.

Maintaining your drainage system is very important. If not treated properly, it may abruptly malfunction. Foul odors, swampy lawns, and back-up in your tubs and toilets may occur. This is preventable with proper care and maintenance by using a granular product. This will help you avoid expensive repair costs on your leach field and possible lawn repair. Both can be very costly and you may even have to leave your home for a few days.

The fact that you have a leach field is not the issue. This system is just as good as any other type of drainage system. Nonetheless, you use your leach field system more than you realize. When you do laundry, when you use the shower, toilet, sink, etc. Without knowing it, you’re slowly building up solid waste while doing these day-to-day activities. By adding  treating your leach field to your routine, you can avoid any problems.

I would never literally go into my leach field and clean it out, nor would I want to pay thousands of dollars for a restoration or repair job. But I will do my research and find the proper product within the industry of septic treatments. And find the easiest most efficient product on the market.

Regardless of the price it has to be more cost effective then paying a professional.  I have not chosen a product yet, but I have realized that for my leach field a liquid treatment is probably a poor choice because liquid detergents, soaps and shampoos are what’s adding to the build up of solid waste. I may be wrong, but it sounds about right to me.

So my goal is for whomever has a leach field to hopefully follow me and research and add information about the products we end up finding to treat our leach field drain system. Because no matter how rich or poor you are, we all want to save money and protect our homes. So lets do the proper research and end up figuring out the leader in leach field treatment.

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ydravlikos

24 hours emergency plumbers in Athens, Greece

24 hours emergency plumbers in Athens, Greece

We are there around the clock when you need us.
Summers Too Hot? Winters Too Cold?

It is time to get a new 24 Texnikoi Athina ( ydravlikos )unit to regulate your homes temperature all year around.

Garbage Disposals

Help protect your pipes with a Garbage Disposal installed into your sink.

Water Heaters

Seem like your house can not keep your water hot? Maybe it is time for a new water heater.

Drain Cleaning

Drains need maintenance too! Give your pipes a good cleaning and extend their lifespan.

Faucets, Sinks, Toilets

Time for a plumbing upgrade? Improve your homes value by installing any of these new fixtures.

Bathroom Remodeling

Update your bathroom bringing it into the new age with a refreshing new look.

Welcome to 24 Texnikoi Athina

24 Texnikoi Athina has been serving the Athens area for over 25 years providing excellent full-service residential and commercial plumbing and HVAC. We pride ourself in providing elite, top quality service, all at an affordable price.

Why Hire a Professional Plumber?

Some people may lean towards DIY when it comes to plumbing. If you are not an experienced expert in plumbing you could be costing yourself tons of money in the long run. Installing or incorrectly fixing a plumbing problem can lead to leaks or a burst, which will double or triple your cost to get the problem solved. Having a professional handle the job will give you the ease of mind that it will be performed correctly at an affordable price. Enjoy your free time instead of wasting it on plumbing, let 24 Texnikoi Athina do all the hard work for you.

Summers Too Hot? Winters Too Cold? Time for a Change

Do you find yourself in unbearable conditions due to the extremes of weather. Your Summers are too hot, and Winters too cold? It may be time for you to get a HVAC unit. The benefits of having an HVAC unit are more then just keeping your house at a regulated temperature all year around. Upgrading or installing a new HVAC unit instantly increases the value you your home.

Before You Choose a Contractor, You Must Read ThisWith all of the contractor choices that you have, it can be hard to narrow down to the right one for you. We want to make your job easier in finding a contractor. It is vital that you get at least three quotes from three contractors. Let each contractor know that you are getting several different quotes. This will reduce the price of the job, while improving the service.

The 24 Texnikoi Athina Satisfaction Guarantee

From the time that you hire Acosta Plumbing and HVAC until your are satisfied with our service, we will provide you the best quality of service in the industry, period, every employee, every step of the way. We measure our success not in dollars and cents, not even the number of customers served, but in the number of fully satisfied, happy customers.

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Australia cancer sufferer first to use new assisted dying law


A 61-year-old cancer patient has become the first person in over two decades to die under controversial assisted dying laws in Australia, a charity said.

Kerry Robertson died in July, three months after the mother-of-two ceased treatment for metastatic breast cancer, the support group Go Gentle Australia said Sunday.

The state of Victoria passed a law in 2017 to legalise the practice, which went into effect this June. Other states are now expected to follow suit.

Robertson, who ended her life in the southeastern town of Bendigo, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010—which then spread into her bones, lung, brain, and liver.

She decided to stop receiving treatment in March when the side effects of chemotherapy were no longer manageable and took medication to end her life after a 26-day approval process, the charity said.

“It was quick, she was ready to go. Her body was failing her and she was in incredible pain. She’d been in pain for a long time,” her daughter Jacqui said in a statement.

Euthanasia had previously been legal in Australia’s Northern Territory, but those laws were overturned in a contentious move by the federal government in 1997.


Australian state takes step toward legalizing euthanasia


© 2019 AFP

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Australia cancer sufferer first to use new assisted dying law (2019, August 5)
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Nine to Five Fashion Looks!

It was more than just terrifying for me to graduate this May and then start working. Like it was a new world and I somehow didn’t think I belong there. Every time my friends used to tell me “Oh man! Can’t wear shorts to office, you will have to come help me shop! ” , I always used to feel that how can shorts or skirts define a girl’s credibility in office.

Buy an affordable women bag today from 4bag!

Most of the times my friends would say “You know shorts won’t work in the corporate world” and I would always be astonished and left bewildered. I mean why not? Why can’t we as women wear what we feel like instead of being restricted to a uniform?

But then again there are two sides to what I used to think and somehow made peace with the fact that corporate offices do have a kind of uniform and it is okay, just like in schools though, but I guess it’s okay. Not for me because I am so happy to be belonging to Fashion industry where you can wear what you want and be what you want.

But I have seen my friends, my roommate, struggle to look out for good formals but I guess I have finally found their miracle brand. This blog post is not only talking about style but mostly the brand and it’s amazing quality and affordability. Yes I am talking about Marie Claire.

Blog post features the most amazing brand I have come across in terms of quality and sustainability. You guys might have heard about the magazine Marie Claire, but it’s also an apparel brand and it has been recently launched in India few months ago.

Both the looks have been inspired by how one can wear really comfortable and buy quality yet really affordable clothes for work and look extremely stylish. The entire Marie Claire collection is exclusively available on Myntra.

It’s not hard at all to look stylish yet very comfortable at work, If you are wearing Marie Claire girls!
Time to make your 9 to 5 look amazing!

And one little thing that I would say to my readers, Wear what you want in your office and let’s not let the society judge our credibility by the clothes we would wear to office. We know we can rock a skirt and still be hard working right?

Love.

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Brain changes noted in holocaust survivors and their children

Brain changes noted in holocaust survivors and their children


(HealthDay)—Holocaust survivors may have suffered permanent harmful changes to their brain structure, and the brains of their children and grandchildren may also be affected, a small study reveals.

“After more than 70 years, the impact of surviving the Holocaust on brain function is significant,” said researcher Ivan Rektor, a neurologist from Brno, Czech Republic.

MRI scans of 28 Holocaust survivors showed they had a significantly decreased volume of gray matter in the brain compared to 28 people in the same age group without a personal or family history of the Holocaust. Their average age was about 80.

The affected parts of the brain are responsible for stress response, memory, motivation, emotion, learning and behavior, the study authors said.

Reductions in gray matter were significantly higher among Holocaust survivors who were younger than 12 in 1945, compared to those who were older. This may be because a child’s developing brain is more vulnerable to stress, the researchers suggested.

Gray matter reductions in the Holocaust survivors were found in areas of the brain associated with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in combat veterans and people who suffered high levels of stress early in life.

But gray matter reductions found elsewhere in the brains of Holocaust survivors were far greater than previously found in people with PTSD, the findings showed.

The study can’t prove that the horrors of the Nazi regime actually caused the changes in brain structure seen among survivors and their descendants.

However, the researchers are now assessing Holocaust survivors’ children and grandchildren. And early findings in the children show reduced connectivity between brain structures involved in processing emotion and memory.

“We revealed substantial differences in the brain structures … between Holocaust survivors and controls. Early results show this is also the case in children of survivors, too,” Rektor said in a European Academy of Neurology news release.

“Our hope is that these findings and our ongoing research will allow us to understand more about the effect of these experiences in order to focus therapy to support survivors’ and their descendants’ resilience and growth,” Rektor said. “We may also reveal strategies that Holocaust survivors used to cope with trauma during their later lives and to pass on their experience to further generations.”

The study results were recently presented at a European Academy of Neurology meeting in Oslo, Norway. Data and conclusions presented at meetings are usually considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.


New study reveals biological toll on brain function of Holocaust survivors


More information:
The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more on stress.

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Brain changes noted in holocaust survivors and their children (2019, July 26)
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Study asked people with mental health disorders to recommend changes to international diagnostic guidelines

Study asked people with mental health disorders to recommend changes to international diagnostic guidelines


Credit: CC0 Public Domain

A Rutgers University researcher contributed to the first study to seek input from people with common mental health issues on how their disorders are described in diagnostic guidelines.

The study, which was conducted by researchers in the United Kingdom and the United States in collaboration with the World Health Organization Department of Mental Health, appears in The Lancet.

“Including people’s personal experiences with disorders in diagnostic manuals will improve their access to treatment and reduce stigma,” said Margaret Swarbrick, an adjunct associate professor and Director of Practice Innovation and Wellness at Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care, who collaborated with Kathleen M. Pike, executive director and scientific co-director of the Global Mental Health Program on the U.S. portion of the study.

The researchers talked to people with five common disorders—schizophrenia, bipolar disorder type 1, depressive episode, personality disorder and generalized anxiety disorder—about how their conditions should be described in the upcoming 11th revision of the International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-11). The ICD is the most widely used classification system for mental disorders. This is the first time people with diagnosed mental health disorders who are not health practitioners have been invited to give input on any published mental health diagnostic guidelines.

The project surveyed 157 people diagnosed with these conditions in the United Kingdom, India and the United States. The participants reviewed an initial draft of the ICD-11 chapter on mental, behavioral and neurodevelopmental disorders and recommended changes to more accurately reflect their experiences and/or remove objectionable language.

Many participants said the draft omitted emotional and psychological experiences they regularly have. People with schizophrenia added references to anger, fear, memory difficulties, isolation and difficulty communicating internal experiences. People with bipolar disorder added anxiety, anger, nausea and increased creativity. People with generalized anxiety disorder added nausea and anger. People with depression added pain and anxiety. People with personality disorder added distress and vulnerability to exploitation.

The participants also suggested removing confusing or stigmatizing terms such as “retardation,” “neuro-vegetative,” “bizarre,” “disorganized” and “maladaptive.”

“We discovered that the current draft reflected an external perspective of these conditions rather than the perspective of the person’s lived experience,” Swarbrick said. “This is a needed perspective for clinicians and researchers. Participants appreciated the non-technical summaries, which suggest that using such common language would go a long way in bridging the communication gap between the people being diagnosed and clinicians.”


WHO mental health guidelines could better capture ‘lived experience’


More information:
Corinna Hackmann et al, Perspectives on ICD-11 to understand and improve mental health diagnosis using expertise by experience (INCLUDE Study): an international qualitative study, The Lancet Psychiatry (2019). DOI: 10.1016/S2215-0366(19)30093-8

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Do you need a bone density test?

Do you need a bone density test?


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Dear Mayo Clinic: I’ve never had a fracture or bone health issues. Should I still get a bone density test?

A: It depends. A bone density test uses a low dose of X-rays in a quick, noninvasive way to measure the amount of calcium and other minerals in a segment of bone, usually the hips and spine. By identifying decreases in bone mineral density, your health care provider can determine your risk of fractures, and diagnose and monitor osteoporosis progression.

Most young, healthy people do not need a bone density test. But as you age, your risk for osteoporosis increases because bone density tends to decrease as people grow older. That is especially true in women. If you’re a woman 65 or older, a bone density test is recommended. Even if testing reveals your bone health is good, this test can be a baseline measurement for future testing.

For men without fractures, the answer isn’t quite as clear. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force doesn’t recommend routine bone density testing for men. Because men have a higher bone mass and lose bone more slowly than women, they’re at a lower risk of fracture. There’s also no conclusive evidence that osteoporosis medications can prevent fractures in men. However, up to 1 in 4 men over 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis. Groups such as the National Osteoporosis Foundation still recommend testing for men 70 and older.

Men 50-69 and women under 65 also may want to have bone density testing if they have risk factors for osteoporosis, including a family history of the disease or a history of fractures. Another risk factor is taking certain kinds of drugs that can interfere with the body’s process of rebuilding bone. Examples of these drugs include steroid medications, such as prednisone, and immunosuppressant medications, such as those taken after an organ transplant or bone marrow transplant.

People over 50 who have broken a bone and people who have lost 1.5 inches of height or more also may need a bone density test to screen for osteoporosis.

Bone density test results are reported in a measurement known as a “T-score.” A T-score of minus 1 or higher is normal. A score of minus 2.5 or lower is osteoporosis. The range between normal and osteoporosis is considered osteopenia, a condition where bone density is below the normal range and puts a person at higher risk for developing osteoporosis. Osteopenia also raises the risk for breaking a bone.

There are things you can do to help keep your bones stay healthy as you get older:

– Exercise is important. Be sure to include a combination of weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, jogging, running or stairclimbing.

– Eat a healthy diet, making sure to get the right amounts of calcium and vitamin D.

– If you smoke, stop. Research suggests that tobacco use contributes to weak bones.

– Limit the amount of alcohol you drink. Regularly having more than two alcoholic drinks a day raises your risk of osteoporosis, possibly because alcohol can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb calcium.

Talk to your health care provider about getting a bone density test, and discuss with him or her any concerns you have about your bone health. Taking steps now can help ensure good bone health in the future.


What’s the right age to test for osteoporosis?


©2019 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research
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Mayo Clinic Q&A: Do you need a bone density test? (2019, July 5)
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