Getting paid to lie in bed
Bed rest studies are a popular if controversial way to make money and Slovenians seem very keen to give it a try. The first such study in Slovenia, which offers €12,000 for two months, has seen applications pouring in.
The Jožef Stefan Institute is offering €12,000 to twelve men aged 18-45 to lie in bed for 60 days in a study aimed at preventing the impacts of weightlessness in space.
The call for applications will be open until mid-June, but the offer has already attracted more than enough men interested in participation: more than 200 signed up in just three days, according to researcher Igor Mekjavić.
The job ad was leaked and made public a bit too soon, but the information it provided was true, Mekjavić told the STA.
The research institute is looking for men aged 18-45 who weigh less than 95 kilograms and are in good health. The study, including pre- and post-examinations, will take place between September and December, 90 days in total.
Even though the pay may seem a lot, it is actually the minimum wage taking into account the hourly rate, Mekjavić said. As such, the money is not a bait to lure in the participants but a very realistic figure.
The participants will be required to stay in bed or participate in other ways 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and during the bed rest period this will not include getting up for bathroom breaks, bathing or meals.
Titled The Effect of Vibration Training during Hypoxic Inactivity, the study will aim to compare and evaluate different exercise strategies for life in spacecraft, which could prevent bone and muscle loss and changes in the cardiovascular system of astronauts, the main problems they face during life in space.
The researchers will be focusing on potential vision changes, as vision deterioration is common in veteran astronauts. The results of the study will not only benefit astronauts but will also help improve treatments for health conditions on Earth, Mekjavić says.
The research is funded by the European Space Agency and will take place at the Planica Nordic Centre's Laboratory for Gravitational Physiology, which has a unique capacity to research several space-related areas, including hypoxemia, a shortage of oxygen supply in blood.
Everyone who applies will learn the details of the bed rest study and later, if they are still interested, undergo intensive examinations. During and after the study rehabilitation will be provided and several follow-up examinations will take place in the two years following the study.
Based on past experience, no health consequences are expected since all participants in such studies have recuperated very quickly so far, Mekjavić said.