Japanese home health lab startup Bisu collaborates with Polaris Dawn to develop new ways to monitor astronaut health

Japanese home health lab startup Bisu collaborates with Polaris Dawn to develop new ways to monitor astronaut health

Published: 05-12-2022 11:36:00 | By: Pie Kamau | hits: 3671 | Tags:

Traveling in space leads to bone loss, muscle loss, and an increased risk of kidney stone formation, often starting within the first 24 hours of spaceflight as calcium levels in bone and tissue decrease and are expelled in urine. A new research experiment, selected for inclusion in the upcoming Polaris Dawn spaceflight mission, aims to show if monitoring the first urine sample in the morning could provide a simple way to track astronaut health in space.

If successful, the research will provide a pathway to use compact, new inflight monitoring techniques. The day's first urine sample typically has the highest urine calcium levels in the day and taking measurements from this sample might offer a workable way to assess in-flight bone loss and kidney stone risk. As both space accessibility and long-duration human spaceflights increase, keeping crews healthy by providing personalized, targeted countermeasures will be essential. This will require small, easy-to-use, low-power devices that can provide actionable information using easily obtainable samples of urine or saliva, such as a first-morning void.

Bisu is a startup that helps people improve their health and fitness through lab-grade testing at home. Working with former astronaut Jay Buckey, MD, Professor of Medicine and Director of the Space Medicine Innovations Lab at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Bisu will support the post-flight analysis of first-morning void urine samples gathered from the Polaris Dawn crew to assess the effect of spaceflight on markers of bone loss, muscle loss, and kidney stone risk. If successful, this research could pave the way for inflight monitoring with new technologies, such as the microfluidic urine and saliva analyzer Bisu has developed. Because weightlessness affects people differently, this kind of in-flight monitoring could provide targeted countermeasures.

Prof. Jay Buckey said: "People will be spending longer times in space, and they may not be able to do the extensive countermeasure programs currently used on the space station. We need simple ways to monitor people while they are in space so that the countermeasure program can be targeted to each person's individual needs. This research puts us on the path toward that."

Daniel Maggs, Co-founder and CEO, Bisu: "We're delighted to be working with Polaris Dawn and Prof. Buckey on this pioneering research. This research reflects Bisu's commitment to advancing human health by making valuable health data accessible to all - whether on Earth or in space."