Early Detection of Osteoporosis in Space (EDOS) - 04.25.18

Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
The Early Detection of Osteoporosis in Space (EDOS) project investigates bone loss occurring in crewmembers which is similar to osteoporosis on Earth. This helps to test the efficiency of methods (exercise, dietary, etc.) currently used to counteract such conditions and will help in the development of new methods in the future. It may also help feed into preventative methods and rehabilitation for patients on Earth with similar bone conditions such as osteoporosis.
Science Results for Everyone
Dem bones, dem bones gotta walk around. EDOS assesses the efficiency of a technique called non-invasive three-dimensional peripheral quantitative computed tomography (3DpQCT) to scan and analyze bone structure. Results help test the effectiveness of diet and exercise that are currently used to counteract bone loss and could lead to development of new countermeasures.  This method of bone exploration could also contribute to a reference technique for early detection of osteoporosis on Earth, and improved early diagnosis could prove important in development of more effective treatment of osteoporosis. The scanner used has already been successfully commercialized.

The following content was provided by Christian Alexandre, M.D., and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Information provided courtesy of the Erasmus Experiment Archive.
Experiment Details


Principal Investigator(s)
Christian Alexandre, M.D., Universite Jean Monnet, St. Etienne, France

L. Braak, France
Peter Ruegsegger, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Space Biology, Zurich, Switzerland
Laurence Vico, Ph.D., LBTO INSERM, St. Etienne, France
Martina A. Heer, Ph.D., University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany

SCANCO Medical, Bassesdorf, Switzerland

Sponsoring Space Agency
European Space Agency (ESA)

Sponsoring Organization
Information Pending

Research Benefits
Information Pending

ISS Expedition Duration
April 2007 - March 2010; September 2011 - March 2013; March 2015 - September 2015; September 2016 - April 2017

Expeditions Assigned

Previous Missions
EDOS began ISS operations on Expedition 16.

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • Early Detection of Osteoporosis in Space (EDOS) demonstrates the efficiency of the three-dimensional peripheral quantitative computed tomography (3DpQCT) technique (XtremeCT developed by SCANCO Medical) for an early detection of bone remodeling impairment and the related bone microarchitecture changes and to provide information on the kinetics of bone loss. Ultimately the objective is to show if this device can provide an accurate measurement to evaluate the efficiency of bone countermeasures following missions in microgravity.
  • The XtremeCT allows three-dimensional imaging of bone microarchitecture with a high resolution.
  • EDOS evaluates the XtremeCT with preflight and postflight measurements in a series of flights. Measurements include XtremeCT, Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) and analysis of bone markers (blood samples).

Information Pending

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Space Applications
The EDOS project will help in assessing the efficiency of countermeasures, developed through ESA research and research from other organizations, to the bone loss experienced by crewmembers on long-duration space missions such as to the International Space Station (ISS). This will assist in the optimal planning of long-duration missions with respect to pharmacological, dietary or exercise-based protocols in order to alleviate such adverse effects and hence improve/maintain the health and performance of our crewmembers in orbit. This data could also feed into the development of numerical bone models for crewmembers which could assist in the  optimal planning for future longer-duration human exploration missions.

Earth Applications
With crewmembers exhibiting bone loss similar to osteoporosis in space, i.e. about 1% loss per month in space, this research should significantly contribute to the development of a reference technique to perform an early detection of osteoporosis on Earth. These improved diagnostics in the early stages of such a medical condition may prove extremely important in development of more effective countermeasures to the effects of osteoporosis. Already the 3DpQCT scanner used in EDOS which ESA supported the development of for a non-invasive/in vivo technique for observation of bone structure has been successfully commercialized.

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Operational Requirements and Protocols
Information Pending

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

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Results/More Information

Information Pending

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Results Publications

    Vico L, Van Rietbergen B, Vilayphiou N, Linossier M, Locrelle H, Normand M, Zouch M, Gerbaix M, Bonnet N, Novikov V, Thomas T, Vassilieva G.  Cortical and trabecular bone microstructure did not recover at weight-bearing skeletal sites and progressively deteriorated at non-weight-bearing sites during the year following International Space Station missions. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. 2017 June 2; epub: 32 pp. DOI: 10.1002/jbmr.3188. PMID: 28574653.

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Ground Based Results Publications

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ISS Patents

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Related Publications

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Related Websites
Columbus Mission - European Experiment Programme
SCANCO Medical

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image Xtreme CT hardware. Image provide courtesy of SCANCO Medical.
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