MyotonPRO successfully launched to the ISS April 5, 2018

MyotonPRO Digital Palpation Device was successfully launched to the ISS, on 2nd April 2018  20:30UTC, from SLC-40 of Cape Canaveral. Launch vehicle - SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, spacecraft Dragon CRS-14. It is important milestone in better understanding of the muscle physiology. Due to absence of suitable technology (non-invasive, in-vivo), the muscle tone and bio-mechanical properties of a muscle tissue have never been measured in space before. MyotonPRO device is designed to function in different gravity environments from zero G to hypergravity 1.3G. Experiment objectives: Investigators aim to access microgravity-induced biomechanical muscle parameters such as tone, tension, stiffness, elasticity, relaxation and creep on the relaxed skeletal muscles of the human body. More over the aim is better to understand muscle physiology and improve objective monitoring of muscle health and physical condition of crewmembers during pre-flight training, in-flight activities, and post-flight reconditioning. Mentioned properties will be measured with the non-invasive MyotonPRO© Digital Palpation Device. Specific aims:
  1. To better understand the fundamental adaptation mechanisms related to the yet ill-defined structure-function-biomechanics interrelations of the human resting myofascial system exposed to long-term continuous microgravity.
  2. To gain a better and more comprehensive evaluation of the crewmembers performance control and fitness for variable mission duties (inflight monitoring).
  3. To perform routine monitoring on crewmembers before launch and after landing.
  4. To monitor in relation to preflight data the magnitude of changes throughout the full cycle of deconditioning on the International Space Station (ISS) and post-flight reconditioning.
  5. To monitor on which level due to regular exercise the astronauts will be able to maintain and even up the parameters measured by the MyotonPRO© on Earth versus on the ISS.
  6. To monitor the microgravity changes of different tissue and muscle types.
APPROACH: In this experiment, ten different body measure points of the resting human musculature (superficial muscle) and myofascial system (fascia, tendons) will be tested by crewmembers from right body side before, during and after a space flight. Measurements will be performed by digital palpation method using the hand-held, non-invasive  MyotonPRO© device followed by high resolution ultrasound imaging of body skin measure points to monitor/quantify volume changes of the skin, muscle, and tendon/fascia. Inflight sessions will include ground-based real-time video monitoring from each subject, which will be downlinked for analysis. In addition, blood draws will be done pre- in-, and post-flight. Pre- and post-flight surface electromyography and dynamometer strength tests will be performed on two lower leg muscles such as gastrocnemius or tibialis anterior followed by pre – and post-flight calf volume via MRI imaging. The experiment name: Myotones – Muscle Tone in Space Principal investigator: Dieter Blottner Co-investigators:  Kirsten Albracht, Hanns-Christian Gunga, Michele Salanova, Maria Stokes   Research area: Muscle physiology Environment: International Space Station (ISS) Managing NASA Center: Johnson Space Center (JSC) Responsible NASA Representative: Johnson Space Center LSDA Office Project Manager: Kenneth C. Jenks Institutional Support: European Space Agency (ESA) Proposal Source: International