July 12, 2019

Space flight doctor

By Karl Oestreich

Arizona PBS

This July is the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 moon landing. The first astronauts to land on the moon and the many others who flew into space were selected in part because of their excellent health and physical condition. Now, the emergence of private space flight will mean civilians going into space who might not meet the rigorous health standards required of astronauts and may even have pre-existing conditions. In addition, there is currently no medical criteria for those who go on private space flights. Dr. Jan Stepanek, who practices aerospace medicine at Mayo Clinic in Phoenix,  talks about medical criteria for civilians in space and is a co-author of   a paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine called “Space Medicine in the Era of Civilian Spaceflight.”

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Reach: Eight, Arizona PBS is a PBS station that has focused on educating children, reporting in-depth on public affairs, fostering lifelong learning and celebrating arts and culture. Its signal reaches 86 percent of the homes in Arizona. With more than 1 million viewers weekly, Eight consistently ranks among the most-viewed public television stations per capita in the country. Eight is a member-supported service of Arizona State University.

Context: Jan Stepanek, M.D., M.P.H., is a Mayo Clinic aerospace medicine specialist. Dr. Stepanek and his team study the effects of clinical and significant operational problems in the realm of spatial disorientation while in flight, as well as maintenance of balance, cognitive impairment, especially in hypoxia-induced conditions, and prevention of acceleration-induced blackout. You can read more about his research here.

Contact: Jim McVeigh

Tags: aerospace medicine, Apollo 11, Arizona PBS, Dr. Jan Stepanek, moon landing, Uncategorized

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