Health

Researchers Will Pay Brave Men $17,000 to Stay in Bed for 60 Days

It's for the good of space research.
April 5, 2017, 5:14pm
Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales

Luxuriating in bed is an absolute delight—watch a little TV, snooze, read a book chapter, snooze some more—and now young, healthy men could get paid to do it. Just one catch: they'd have to stay there for 60 days straight without getting up. That is, all eating, bathing, and bodily functions would be conducted in bed. Yes, meaning shitting in a bed pan.

French researchers at the Institute for Space Medicine and Physiology are looking for ten people to sign up for this gig, which starts in September, so they can study the effects of microgravity on the body, like the weightlessness astronauts would experience at the International Space Station. Subjects would need to be fit men ages of 20 and 45 who work out regularly and  don't smoke and don't have food allergies. Their body mass index (BMI) has to be between 22 and 27.

They'd undergo testing before and after being bedridden and that bed, mind you, would be angled so their heads would be tilted slightly downward. Participants would have to keep at least one shoulder in contact with the bed or its frame at all times; they can turn on their sides but never sit up. Eating and drinking in that position sounds truly awful but it simulates weightlessness by shifting the blood toward the upper body…and also affects how the heart works. After the experiment is over, they might experience loss of muscle mass, lower bone density, drops in blood pressure, vertigo, and difficulty standing.

The researchers are looking to combat the negative effects of weightlessness, so half the group will take antioxidant and anti-inflammatory food supplements and the other half will act as a control group. (NASA has done similar studies; one man who was paid to stay in bed for 70 days in 2014 wrote about his experience for VICE.)

For their contributions to science, subjects will receive €16,000 over four years, or about $17,065 at the current exchange rate, which is not nearly enough, especially if all ten beds are in the same room (no word on that just yet).