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Advances in health and medicine.
Marjorie Bekaert Thomas
Advances in health and medicine.
Orthopedics Channel
Reported January 25, 2013

Medical Breakthroughs in Space!

SAN DIEGO, Cali. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- When astronaut Scott Kelly blasts into space in 2015, he’ll be a living, breathing medical experiment.  Helping researchers figure out the physical and psychological impact of living on the international space station for one full year!  What they discover could help future astronauts survive a two year round trip to mars.  Meanwhile, the latest out of this world work helps patients with common health problems.

This ingestible pill thermometer was developed for astronauts. Now it’s helping make sure athletes, troops, and firefighters don’t die from heat exhaustion. A heart pump inspired by rocket engines keeps patients waiting for heart transplants alive.  Even purified water systems designed for the space shuttle are making their way into our dentist’s office and there’s more to come from the final frontier.

Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Douglas Chang works with astronauts.

“About 85% have significant back pain,” Douglas Chang, MD, PhD, Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at the University of California, told Ivanhoe.

In zero gravity, they grow an average of two inches when the curvature of their spines straightens out!

“They have an increased incidence of disc herniations,” Dr. Chang explains.

Dr. Chang is researching why discs may be getting weaker in space.  Figuring out why, could help keep discs down here from hurting.

Astronauts could also be key in helping stop the effects of osteoporosis.  Studies show they lose two-percent of their bone mass for every month spent in zero gravity.  Researchers are working on ways to stop the progression in space, which could stop the progression on earth.

A small sample of the space inspired breakthroughs improving lives now and possibly in the future.

Can fruit flies in space improve our heart health?  Researchers are sending the insects that share many of the same genetic and molecular mechanisms as humans to the international space station later this year. They’ll study how space travel impacts the cardiovascular system.  The work could help prevent or treat heart problems in space and on earth.  MORE

More Information

Click here for additional research on “Out of This World” Breakthroughs!

Click here for Ivanhoe's full-length interview with Dr. Douglas Chang

If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Andrew Mcintosh at


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