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Sept. 28, 1999

Michael Mewhinney

NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA

(Phone: 650/604-3937, 650/604-9000)

mmewhinney@mail.arc.nasa.gov


Joe Waldygo

JW Communications, Inc., Gilbert, AZ

(Phone: 480-632-5050)

joew@jw-comm.com


RELEASE: 99-61AR

NASA TEAMS WITH SWEDISH FIRM TO STUDY CHANGES IN ASTRONAUTS' SPINES

Scientists from NASA and DynaMed AB, a Swedish medical technology company, have signed a Space Act Agreement for research and development of a space-age compression harness to examine changes in the spines of astronauts before and after space flight and of patients with spinal disease.

Under the terms of the agreement, the research will focus on developing the technology as a diagnostic tool for the spinal canal and other areas, including hips, knees and neck injuries. This collaboration will benefit NASA by enabling accurate Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) spinal investigations preceding and following long-term exposure to the reduced gravity environment of space flight. The device also holds potential as a preventative and therapeutic countermeasure for spinal degeneration and back pain characteristic of long-term space flight.

"The use of this technology will often assist in a more specific and valid diagnosis of spinal disease, which traditionally has been difficult during horizontal imaging," said Alan R. Hargens PhD, Senior Scientist at NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA and Professor of Orthopaedics at the University of California, San Diego. Hargens is helping direct clinical studies at the Veterans Administration and Stanford University Medical Centers in Palo Alto, CA, in cooperation with Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Gothenburg, Sweden.

The DynaMed compression harness is used in conjunction with Computer Tomography (CT) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) equipment to provide a more accurate diagnosis of spinal conditions by simulating the weight and load of upright posture. Currently, because virtually all MRI and CT examinations occur when a patient is lying down and free from the effects of gravity, many spinal diseases, injuries and conditions may go undetected or be improperly diagnosed.


picture of person lying downPlease click here to reach link to PUBLICATION SIZE IMAGE, 300 dpi, better than AP Leaf Desk resolution. (This image is courtesy of DynaMed AB and is intended for newa/public affairs use. For any other use, please contact DynaMed AB, http://www.dynamedinc.com).

"DynaMed's goal is to assist physicians in providing enhanced diagnosis, which will offer opportunities for safer and more accurate treatments benefiting patients to return to a pain free life," said Stan Mikulowski, CEO of DynaMed AB. "Health care providers should also benefit from the technology since better diagnosis has the potential to reduce costs of treatment."

DynaMed AB delivers innovative, premiere, medical diagnostic imaging technology for healthcare providers using CT and MRI technology. The company is privately owned and headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, with a wholly owned subsidiary, DynaMed, Inc. located in the United States. For more information, call 310-204-5787 or visit the company's Web site at: www.dynamedinc.com

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