The combined effects of postural changes, fluid shifts and diuresis associated with the absence of the gravity vector may decrease gastrointestinal motility (GIM) during space flight. GIM can be estimated from the mouth to cecum transit time (MCTT) of orally administered lactulose (LAC); this test is used to assess changes in GIM in normal subjects and in patients with GI pathology and related disease conditions. Since bedrest (BR) mimics some of the physiological changes that occur during space flight, the effect of ten days of BR on GIM was evaluated from the MCTT of LAC. Methods: Subjects were 12 nonsmoking males between the ages of 35 and 50. After an 8-10 hour fast, subjects ingested Cephulac (registered) (20 g solution) with a low-fiber breakfast on four different days (45, 30, 25, and 20) before BR and on three separate days (4, 7, and 10) during BR. Breath-H2 concentrations were measured before and at 10 minute intervals for 4 hours after breakfast using a Quintron breathalyzer and MCTT was determined from these data. Results: MCTT ranged between 10 and 122 minutes during ambulation and 80 to 120 minutes during BR with means of 79 minutes and 122 minutes respectively. Conclusion: Mean MCTT during BR was 54 percent longer than during ambulation, suggesting that absorption and availability of orally administered medications and nutrients may be delayed or impaired as a result of decreased GIM during bedrest.
Aerospace Medical Association, Aerospace Medical Association 63rd Annual Scientific Meeting Program; 1 p