stories from the wilder side of science


Lying Down for 370 Days - the Longest Bed Rest Study Ever

Posted on June 3, 2011 at 8:22 AM

Exactly one year ago today the six men of the Mars500 study entered the simulated spacecraft near Moscow in order to learn more about human behavior of living for prolonged time in a tight space (picture above). The anniversary made headlines world wide. There was a time though when similar events did not prompt any press releases.

When I came across the paper about the longest bed rest study ever I couldn't believe my eyes. Yes I had heard about American subjects who were required to lie in bed for three months without getting up or even sitting up once in order to simulate the reaction of human bodies to weightlessness and I found this quite incredible. But the title of the paper I had in front of me read ‘370-Day Anti-Orthostatic Hypokinesia’. It suggested that in 1986 in Moscow 11 men volunteered to stay in bed for more than one year.

This was just unimaginable to me thus I contacted cosmonaut and physician Boris Morukov who was the lead author of the paper. Several weeks later I met him in his tiny office at the Institute for Biomedical Problems in Moscow.

The interview lead to this story (published in the The Mad Science Book) about one of the most bizarre experiments ever undertaken.

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