We Support the Flyer!
Astronauts face even harsher extreme environments than those flying high performance jet aircraft. The medical and physiological consequences of the environment of outer space on the human body cannot be understated. For this reason and many others, NASA and other space organizations employ physicians and other health professionals to care for their astronauts and also conduct continued research on various topics involving humans in space.
One significant difference between Space Medicine and the other medical disciplines discussed on Go Flight Medicine is the nature of chronic exposure of extreme environments encountered by astronauts and cosmonauts. Presently, there are those who reside on the International Space Station for months. As space exploration increases in scope and private organizations get involved, we will likely see longer stays in outer space. Loss of bone density, fluid shifts, and circadian rhythm disturbaces are only a handful of physiologic responses that medical professionals already know affect those residing in zero gravity environments for extended periods. The challenge for space medicine docs will be to further the science in this area and then apply it clinically to those venturing into space.
Dr Story Musgrave – Physician, Pilot, Astronaut
I recall seeing an inspiring commercial from US Navy recruiters (see below) some years ago. After showing a series of action-packed video clips, the narrator asks the provocative question: “If someone wrote a book about your life, would anyone want to read it?” When I first learned about Dr Story Musgrave and[...Click Below to Read More]read more
Galactic Cosmic Rays (GCR’s) are considered a threat to aviators, flight crews and frequent air travelers. This risk to astronauts is even greater (possibly even lethal) and continues to pose a significant obstacle to long expeditions into outer space. Cosmic radiation is comprised of high-energy subatomic particles from all of the natural elements[...Click Below to Read More]read more
First American Physician in Space: Dr. Joseph P. Kerwin
Happy 82nd birthday to Dr. Joseph Peter Kerwin!! Dr Kerwin was the first American physician to be selected as an astronaut and sent to outer space by NASA. Born 19 February 1932, Dr Kerwin was selected as a scientist-astronaut by NASA in 1965 and served as science pilot for the[...Click Below to Read More]read more
Aeromedical Standards & Fitness for Flight
Aerospace Medicine is essentially a branch of occupational medicine. Unlike traditional medical disciplines where a patient in a normal environment experiences abnormal diseases and pathology, occupational medicine often provides medical services to patients of normal health and physiology in an abnormal environment. There are a variety of industries in which workers[...Click Below to Read More]read more
Hypoxia in Aviation
Before becoming a flight doc, I often felt skeptical as the flight attendant showcased what appeared to be a yellow Dixie cup connected to an empty IV bag prior to takeoff on commercial airliners. This darting glance wavered as my attention faded. Then, it was back to a few precious final minutes[...Click Below to Read More]read more
Decompression Illness in Aviation
Before English chemist, William Henry, took his own life in 1836, he discovered a simple physics law to explain how gas behaves in solution. This gas law, now appropriately known as Henry’s Law, together with Boyle’s Law, form the basis of the pathophysiology and treatment for Decompression Illness. Henry’s Law[...Click Below to Read More]read more
Pulling G’s – The Effects of G-Forces on the Human Body
“After dinner, the weather being warm, we went into the garden and drank thea, under the shade of some apple trees…he told me, he was just in the same situation, as when formerly, the notion of gravitation came into his mind. It was occasion’d by the fall of an apple,[...Click Below to Read More]read more
Spatial disorientation (commonly referred to as Spatial-D) is the inability to determine one’s position, location, and motion relative to their environment. Spatial-D along with G-induced loss of consciousness (G-LOC) are two of the most common causes of fatality from human factors in military aviation. Spatial-D regularly affects pilots in all aircraft, whereas only[...Click Below to Read More]read more