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Want to Experience Zero G? Stay in Bed 132

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the done-and-done dept.
mrogers writes "New Scientist Space is reporting that the health effects of microgravity can be reproduced by staying in bed. Inclining the bed at an angle of 6 degrees with the head at the lower end produces bone and muscle loss, decreases in cardiovascular activity, and reduced capacity to exercise similar to those produced by prolonged spaceflight. (Valeri Polyakov was not available for comment at the time of going to press.)"
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Want to Experience Zero G? Stay in Bed

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  • by JDSalinger (911918) * on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @11:25AM (#15017785)
    Is this like analogizing dreaming to taking hallucinogens?
    If so, this is like telling Slashdotters "Want to Experience Sex? Stay in Bed and touch yourself."
    Obviously, an insufficient "Experience". I suspect the same of the Stay in Bed "Experience". Someone try this and get back to us.
    -C
    • This is not so ridiculous as it sounds. NASA is actually starting a study soon to see the effects of staying in bed . As part of this study partcipants will have to stay in bed for 90 days including using bedpans to do your stuff. They will not be allowed to even tilt their head up only turn over for when a nurse gives them a sponge bath. Participants get paid 17000 dollars for this. They have to be in the 25-35 age group and in peak physical condition as NASA expects a significant amount of bone loss and
      • "bed rest" = pain (Score:3, Interesting)

        by urbazewski (554143)
        The similarity of the two groups' results confirms the decades-long practice of using inclined bedrest as a proxy for spaceflight.

        Actually, NASA has been doing "bed-rest studies" on the effectiveness of various exercise regimes for some time now: I remember an ad hanging in the cafeteria when I worked at NASA Ames ~ 2001, it said something like "help advance space science without leaving the comfort of a bed." I asked a friend who worked in life support about it, and she tactfully said "it's very uncomfor

      • This is interesting because this is what patients with chronic fatigue/ ME / neurasthenia etc do (or rather don't do)

        They stay in bed and their muscles and bones fall to bits, and surprise surprise, when they try to walk again it is painful and difficult.

        If there is a lesson here that humans work best when they are exposed to regular doses of gravity.
      • Ack! Kidney stones. After 7 of the them I can't imagine anyone wanting to risk that. For those of you who haven't had them. They hurt a LOT. You really, really don't want to get them.
      • Hey that's just brilliant: take a bunch of young people full of potential in excellent health and turn them into crippled vegetables. It's okay, we're giving them money!

        Sheesh.. how much money is the rest of your life worth ? We should be doing these tests on people who are worthless to begin with.
        • What planet are you living on? Most medical studies are done on poor starving students. Who else would risk it? Students are young hence optimistic and also desperate for cash. Havn't you seen Girls Gone Wild?? On a more serious note it makes sense to take healthy volunteers as their bodies can tolerate the abuse and recover pretty well. Nobody is turning them into cripples just like Astronauts who come back from 6 month stays are not crippled for life. They will just need some time and painful exercise to
  • by yagu (721525) * <yayagu.gmail@com> on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @11:25AM (#15017786) Journal

    Not to nitpick here, but isn't experiencing Zero Gs quite a different beast than experiencing the effects of Zero Gs (based on the article's somewhat misleading title)?

    I'm pretty sure one of the effects of experiencing true Zero Gs does not include bed sores!

    And, is anyone else sick of the un-"stoppable" macromedia flash ads that suck up cpu and battery life? I see one now on /. from Neumont University... and it's using 50% of my 1.6GHz cpu, and I can't turn it off.... Fuck Neumont! Fuck Flash ads!

    • Haha... and if you want the mental affect, light up a doobie! Funny mental image of someone as high as a kite laying upsidedown on their bed... "I don't feel my bones getting smaller" and about the flash ads... right click, quality, low! it helps a hell of a lot
    • Get firefox. Then get this: https://addons.mozilla.org/extensions/moreinfo.php ?id=433&application=firefox [mozilla.org]

      Problem solved.
    • by MustardMan (52102) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @11:30AM (#15017837)
      First - I'm pretty sure the article title was meant to be tongue in cheek

      Second - try firefox with the adblock plugin - it's pretty easy to eliminate flash ads if you put just a TINY bit of effort into it instead of bitching about it on slashdot.
      • Second - try firefox with the adblock plugin - it's pretty easy to eliminate flash ads if you put just a TINY bit of effort into it instead of bitching about it on slashdot

        But, I don't mind ads... and sometimtes, I don't even mind flash ads... Sometimes they're actually trying to sell me something I want.

        But, "a TINY bit of effort" each time someone comes up with the next annoying way to trespass (and they have and they will) adds up to a LOT of effort over time -- toss it into the same bucket with all th

        • Try the Flashblock plugin that someone else mentioned up there. The newer versions include a toolbar button that can toggle flash on/off for a page. Very handy for those product pages that contain five or six flash files. Go to a page, see nothing but boxes indicating it's Flash content, toggle it on, reload the page, and cello, all sorts of animations sucking up your processing power--and it's totally at your command!
        • If you also use the Filterset.G updater, almost all ads will be blocked by a ruleset that someone else maintains.
        • Adblock lets you selectively filter - nothing is filtered by default, but a specific annoying element can be removed. Technically it can filter anything, not just ads, so you can get rid of annoying music or animated gifs on websites too.
      • I hear what you're saying about the adblocking, but for me it's the general principle that an advertiser, not content with taking up your desktop space with their ads, also feels entitled to use as much of your CPU and RAM as they see fit. Sure I can block them (and do block at home), but the sheer arrogance that they're entitled to so much of your computing resources is what chaps my ass.

      • Invaluable extension for me -- I absolutely can't stand Flash ads, most especially those that make noise. Try it [mozdev.org].
      • I was not even aware there were ads on Slashdot. Privoxy must be stripping them.
    • And, is anyone else sick of the un-"stoppable" macromedia flash ads that suck up cpu and battery life? . . . Fuck Neumont! Fuck Flash ads!

      I'm sick of Flash ads and Flash usage in general. I don't have Flash installed and I don't care to have Flash installed. While we're on the subject, STOP USING FLASH TO DISPLAY MOVIES!!! Give me an mpeg file so I can use whatever viewer I want. Stop forcing me to install an insecure product to see a movie clip or video.

      I've talked about the bane of Flash befor [slashdot.org]

      • Without flash, there is no Homestar Runner. Without Homestar, there is no joy in Mudville.

        I have an ad blocking plugin that works just fine, and I still get Homestar. Best of all possible worlds.
    • I have never seen an ad on /.

      Maybe you need to get a better hosts file.

      -@
    • Use Firefox without Flash/Shockwave installed and Adblock for ad-free surfing.

      Use Opera for Flash/Shockwave.
    • And, is anyone else sick of the un-"stoppable" macromedia flash ads that suck up cpu and battery life? I see one now on /. from Neumont University... and it's using 50% of my 1.6GHz cpu, and I can't turn it off.... Fuck Neumont! Fuck Flash ads!

      You're not the only one. An increasingly large number of us are doing something about it. When Flash ads started making noise, that was it. "If I want your website to make noise, I'll lick my finger and squeak it accross the screen." Check out Flashblock [mozilla.org]. Want

    • But it makes a nice excuse for sleeping too long: "Sorry, my space journey took longer than planned." :-)
    • Try Avant Browser or one of the other IE wrapper browsers. Most of them have ad blocking and Avant can simply turn off Flash. It's what I use at work since one of the internal websites that I use daily refuses to allow anything other than IE to connect.
    • And, is anyone else sick of the un-"stoppable" macromedia flash ads that suck up cpu and battery life? I see one now on /. from Neumont University... and it's using 50% of my 1.6GHz cpu, and I can't turn it off....

      Might I suggest these [squarefree.com].

      Stick 'em in your Mozilla toolbar (or your IE bookmarks). They do a pretty good job of making flash et al disappear. I've had the "Zap Plugins" in all of the toolbars of my browsers for quite some time.

      Cheers

  • by Mattygfunk1 (596840) * on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @11:26AM (#15017792)
    Want to Experience Zero G? Stay in Bed

    Yeah maybe, but I suspect most of us would be far better served by experiencing improved health at our local sports club, and the social benefits are much better too.

    • My health has improved drastically since last summer (lost almost 50 pounds, have gone from being a couch potato to doing regular exercise, had to buy an entirely new wardrobe and am about to do it again). It's terrifying. I'm going straight home, elevating the foot of my waterbed (not sure how that'll work, but they didn't mention any exceptions), and sleeping for a month, waking only to eat Little Debbies and go to the bathroom. Well, maybe for insulin shots after a week...
  • by liliafan (454080) * on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @11:27AM (#15017804) Homepage
    Sounds to me like some scientist didn't feel like going into work one day and called in with "Hi boss I can't come in today I am researching the effects of staying in bed and comparing them to the effects of zero gravity", finally someone actually came up with a way to get a grant to just stay in bed......lucky bastard.

    *disclaimer: I read the article this is a joke.
  • Amazing! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @11:28AM (#15017817)
    I tried this out a while ago. The results were truly amazing. I found that I was no longer required to obey the laws of gravity. I simply floated wherever I wanted to go.
    • I simply floated wherever I wanted to go

      Just remember you can always do that by throwing yourself at the ground and missing...

    • Just don't look down! As soon as you do, you'll crash to earth!

      Umm... yeah, I learned about physics from road runner cartoons.... why?

      [badum-ching]
    • It almost sounds like the XP experience.... flying around free because of Win XP.
  • The obvious question (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Oooskar (806935) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @11:30AM (#15017831)
    Will you experience an increase in bone and muscle mass if you sleep with your head at the higher end?
    • Probably explains why the Minbari in Babylon 5 were so much stronger, their beds were slanted with their head higher than their feet. Their explanation was that only the dead lie flat, but perhaps they were simply misleading the humans?
      • Probably explains why the Minbari in Babylon 5 were so much stronger, their beds were slanted with their head higher than their feet. Their explanation was that only the dead lie flat, but perhaps they were simply misleading the humans?

        Really? I thought it was just because JMS wasn't good at the details when writing science fiction and that he picked a bad way to make the Minbari different and used a rather pathetic excuse to justify it...

        And I actually like Babylon 5...

    • Logically you would think this would be true, but have you ever slept like that? I did for a week one time while camping out, the ground wasn't perfectly level. Worst nights' sleep I've ever gotten, I constantly felt like I was falling. Had some pretty wacked out dreams, too.
      • I don't know about that - just because a thing causes your body harm, doesn't mean doing the opposite will do it good. Extremely cold temperatures cause you to become weak, but this doesn't mean that extremely high temperatures will make you strong.
      • Worst nights' sleep I've ever gotten, I constantly felt like I was falling

        Wait, isn't that zero-G?
    • Beijing 2008 here I come!
    • Will you experience an increase in bone and muscle mass if you sleep with your head at the higher end?

      I know it makes my bone massive.
    • Silly! The only conclusion you can draw is that if you didn't experience the bone loss and muscle atrophy, then you didn't sleep with your head at the ass-end of the bed.

      Sorry, I just aced a blogthings logic quiz without meaning to. :-)

      • Silly! The only conclusion you can draw is that if you didn't experience the bone loss and muscle atrophy, then you didn't sleep with your head at the ass-end of the bed.

        I see your logic and raise you reading comprehension. The grandparent asked:

        Will you experience an increase in bone and muscle mass if you sleep with your head at the higher end?

        That was not a conclusion; it was a question. And questions that can't be resolved with logic from existing evidence are still useful; further studies can be

  • by Black Parrot (19622) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @11:31AM (#15017838)
    > Valeri Polyakov was not available for comment at the time of going to press.

    Actually he was available, but too weak to type a reply to the questions...
  • The answer on how to loose weight easy, just sleep upside down and you will no longer have the weight of your mussels and bones holding you back plus you won't have that annoying urge to get out and do cardiovascular activities.
  • This is MY kind of science!
  • by digitaldc (879047) * on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @11:42AM (#15017932)
    Dream on, buddy!
  • by physicsphairy (720718) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @11:43AM (#15017938) Homepage
    Swallow a timed explosive charge, and then with the proper inclination of sleep you can experience all the effects of being in a zero-G and zero-pressure spacelike environment!

    Who's got my grant money?

    • Scientists argue that you don't actually blow up when exposed directly to a no-air space environment... So, my suggestion would be to get into an industrial size fridge, and pour boiling water down your throat while lying down.
      • Indeed. I believe I heard somewhere (so that makes it hearsay.. take with salt) that this is actually empirical data resulting from an accidental decompression in a vacuum chamber.
  • spent a few weeks in a hospital bed, and something makes me think spaceflight would cause less bedsores.
  • I experience zero Gs while laying on my bed all the time... then again in my case it's probably just all the drugs.
  • by Billosaur (927319) * <wgrother@NosPAm.optonline.net> on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @11:48AM (#15017963) Journal
    Inclining the bed at an angle of 6 degrees with the head at the lower end produces bone and muscle loss, decreases in cardiovascular activity, and reduced capacity to exercise similar to those produced by prolonged spaceflight.

    Similar results can be obtained by sitting in front of your computer and playing World of Warcraft every day for 16 hours. Remember, your results may vary.

  • by GillBates0 (664202) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @11:48AM (#15017966) Homepage Journal
    produces bone and muscle loss, decreases in cardiovascular activity, and reduced capacity to exercise similar to those produced by prolonged spaceflight

    ...we could continue our couch potato lifestyles and daily beer drinking rituals to achieve the same effect.

    "No, honey, I'm not being lazy, I'm just trying to experience the effects of microgravity".

  • Groan. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @11:48AM (#15017967) Homepage Journal
    Want to Experience Zero G? Stay in Bed

    I just want to stay in bed, isn't that enough? Keep your science out of my laziness.
  • zero-g sex?
  • That means I can get buff by tilting the foot of the bed 6 degrees down!!!! This is going to be awesome!!! No more splindly arms and legs. I'm going to get built just by laying around in bed all day drinking protein shakes.
  • Zero = O
    O = Oblomov
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oblomov>


  • What if you tilt yourself the other way? Does that simulate a high gravity environment? Reduce your need for exercise?
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @12:12PM (#15018184)
    Why the hell would someone want to have the unwanted side effects of microgravity without the cool features? It's like selling drugs that get you addicted, give you withdrawal but no high.

    But I guess the real meaning of the info is in its reversed reading. We know what microgravity does to long time astronauts. So don't stay in bed for too long periods unless you want to suffer the same way they do when they return to 1.0g areas.
  • My friend once broke my bed frame, and I had to sleep like this for about a week until I got a new one. Not fun. Not only do your legs feel extremely weak in the morning, its also an extremely restless sleep.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @12:22PM (#15018284)
    I tilted my bed 6 degrees, but now I keep rolling out. I experience zero-g for a few microseconds before hitting the floor.

    Maybe I need to tilt it the other direction. At least that way my wife will cushion the fall.

  • Does that mean that spending 1/3 of my life in bed, but with my head angled 6 deg up, on a pillow, can prevent "bone and muscle loss, decreases in cardiovascular activity, and reduced capacity to exercise"?
  • I did this (Score:3, Interesting)

    by verloren (523497) on Wednesday March 29, 2006 @12:40PM (#15018466)
    Not voluntarily though - as a child I was diagnosed with Perthes disease [wikipedia.org] and hospitalized for a year in an inclined bed - I think the incline was to help the effects of the traction that was also applied. This was done for a year, the last few weeks of which were learning to walk again. The amount of muscle wastage was quite amazing; I was unable to stand at first, partly because I wasn't used to balancing, but mainly because I just couldn't exert that much force. I was lucky though - I went in again for a month a few years later, and one lad had been in for almost 2 years with no end in sight. A shame that recent thinking suggests it doesn't actually help. I guess this doesn't quite qualify me as an astronaut though?
    • I feel your pain, i was also diagnosed with Legg-Perthes at a young age and was applied tractions for only two weeks and it was not a great experience. After only 2 weeks i could hardly walk, and it wasn't because i was not in shape at all. Im just glad that years of physiotherapy saved me a surgery i really didn't want.
  • If you sit on your arse all day you will experiance zero G's, zero $. Yup!
  • Judging from the comments, it seems most /.ers are missing the point of the article.

    Researchers are trying to find a way to *counter* the ill health effects of zero gravity. But since it is too costly to send test subjects up into space, they are simulating the effects by having them lay down all day. They found that the resulting health effects to come pretty darn close. From the article:
    The amount of oxygen the men's bodies were able to use optimally during cycling tests declined by 10.4% in the as

    • No, that was the point of the research. The point of the article was to attract readers. And of course the point of posting it to Slashdot was to enable jokes on good excuses for staying in bed :-)
  • What's the meaning of this article? I mean, who would stay at bed for a long time to feel the symptoms of 0grav...?
  • This has been a standard procedure for measuring the effects of zero G's for quite a while here. The bed rest model has been used to determine the usefulness of various methods for countering the bone loss of astronauts while in zero G's. Bed rest has been used as a model for osteoporosis too. The article is mostly about the exercise counter measures they apparently developed. Unfortunately they really aren't all that innovative either. Resistance exercises and treadmill running are exactly the counter
  • Gosh darn it, I paid $4000 for this Zero-G Mattress and all I get is muscle loss.
  • Sorry I cannot cite any source...but I remember seeing documentary around 10 years ago, doing the very same experiment (by US), for the very same purpose: investigate the effect on living in Zero G.

    10 participant laid on bed for a week, exactly 6 degree tilted. Bathing in horizontal container, eating on bed, watching TV on bed, anything on bed. No exercise was done. One week later, they can't even put on the socks for themselve.
  • And here I was thinking:

    "... Stay in bed and have a lucid dream about it!"
  • I think I'd go insane if I had to stay in an inclined bed like that for 17 days straight. Did these test subjects ever get the chance to leave the beds for even a few minutes over those 17 days? Did they even piss in the bed? Freaky.
  • The findings described in TFA seem like a stepping stone to developing preventative medicine or exercises to prevent the effects. Once you can reproduce the problem on earth, you can test solutions without having to put folks in zero-G situations.

    I think it raises fascinating questions:
    Is the cause of space-wasting too much blood in your head (because it isn't being forced into your feet)?
    Is it because blood flow in the brain is throwing off feedback mechanisms (your brain thinks you are healthier than you
  • Because then I'd be way out of shape. Instead I make my living sitting on my ass, which practically makes me a professional athlete.
  • Single bed sized covered rectangle, 400lbs of magnesium in 1' of water, little gavity, no light, no sound, no taste, no smell, only boundless drift. Magnesium salt increases water density to buoancy point.. impossible to sink, no matter how hard you try. Quite an awesome experience. Float centres are few and far between. A listing of some can be found here [floatation.com].
  • Inclining the bed at an angle of 6 degrees with the head at the lower end produces bone and muscle loss, decreases in cardiovascular activity, and reduced capacity to exercise similar to those produced by prolonged spaceflight.

    But does it feel as good as weightlessness?

  • Homer: Mmmm, slanty.
  • After a rather large motorcycle crash I spent 3 months in traction. The bed was inclined about 6 degrees, head down, to stop me from following the traction weights to the floor!

    Getting up for the first time was very weird - I'd lost about 30 kilos of body weight (about 30%), and the head spins were very unsettling.

    Not something I'd recommend to anyone!
  • The Pennington Biomedical Research Center [pbrc.edu], in Baton Rouge [redstick.com], has been running these very tests, usually for 6 weeks at a time.

    That was in the mid-to-late nineties.

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