Scientists are currently looking for 24 fit and healthy men to take part in an experiment that will study the effects of microgravity on their bodies.
Researchers have nearly completed the first round of studies, and are now looking to recruit a second wave to start in September this year.
The research is taking place at the Institute for Space Medicine and Physiology (Medes) in Toulouse, France, in partnership with The Centre national d’études spatiales (CNES.) It requires the subjects to lie on their backs without getting up for 60 days.
The volunteers will be paid about $A21,479 handed out in installments over four years, to take part in a series of tests for two weeks before and after spending two months in bed. That’s three months of tests overall. They have to be fit and sporty males aged 20-45, with a BMI of between 22 and 27, who do not smoke and have no allergies.
They are required to stay lying down with at least one shoulder still on the bed. They can turn, but never sit up straight. This ensures the subjects will never be able to come out of their lying-down position.
It might sound like the ideal job for someone who loves spending time in bed, but being horizontal for two months might not as dreamy as it sounds.
Think about it: volunteers have to eat, wash, and perform all bodily functions there. They can’t go to the toilet. Instead, they have to use bed pans. And they can’t put a foot on the ground for 60 whole days.
Participants should have their heads slightly inclined downwards at less than six degrees, which doesn’t sound too comfortable. This position simulates the effects of weightlessness because it shifts blood towards to upper body, affecting blood volume, heart performance, and blood pressure, according to a CNES press release.
Coordinating physician of the study Arnaud Beck said in an article on the French website 20 Minutes the experiment — named “Cocktail” — aims to look at the detrimental effects of prolonged weightlessness on the human body, which is what astronauts experience when they’re in space.
“Under these specific conditions, the cardiovascular system is impacted, it is no longer able to provide the same effort as before departure or before bed rest,” he told 20 Minutes. “When they try to get up, their static position is altered, they are more arched, the back forward.”
Those who are in space for a year experience strange symptoms like loss of bone density and a puffy face. Many find it difficult to walk because their legs aren’t used to holding their weight. Some astronauts also report their eyesight getting worse.
The researchers hope to find ways to combat these effects with studies like this one, which is why some of the volunteers will be given a cocktail of drugs every day, according to the CNES press release. Half of subjects will take antioxidant and anti-inflammatory food supplements several times a day in the form of capsules. The other half — the control group — won’t take anything.
NASA has conducted similar studies as part of its envihab analogue missions studies. In 2014, one subject was paid $US18,000 to lie in bed for three months. The subject profiled his experience for Vice.
If you fit the brief and want to take part in this new research, you can apply here, or watch the video below to get a better idea of what you can expect as a participant in the study.
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