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Dr. Dorit Donoviel, Dr. Eugene de Juan, Jr., Sunday, 11-23-14 November 24, 2014

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Dr. Dorit Donoviel, Dr. Eugene de Juan, Jr., Sunday, 11-23-14


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Guests:  Dr. Dorit Donoviel, Dr. Eugene, de Juan, Jr.  Topics:  Microgravity effects on optic nerve, NSRBI Vision for Mars Challenge, vision issues for long duration spaceflight.  Please direct all comments and questions regarding Space Show programs/guest(s) to the Space Show blog, https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com.  Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See http://www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm.  For those listening to archives using live365.com and rating the programs, please email me as to why you assign a specific rating to the show. This will help me bring better programming to the audience.

We welcomed our guests Dr. Dorit Donoviel & Dr. Eugene de Juan, Jr. to discuss the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) “Vision for Mars Challenge: A Unique Opportunity for Ophthalmology Companies.”  Read about this project at http://www.nsbri.org/newsflash/indivArticle.asp?id=454&articleID=212.  For additional information on the grants, visit http://www.smartcap.org.  I would also like to thank Kacey White for her hard work with both guests and TSS in making this program possible.  During the first segment of our 97 minute discussion, Dr. Donoviel started us off with background information for the Vision for Mars Challenge, then Dr. de Juan discussed the nature of the eye problems and the effects of low gravity on the optic nerve.  As you will hear from our guests, the Vision for Mars Challenge will award to small companies a grant of $100,000 to “to help identify and advance medical technologies for ocular health in space through collaboration and funding support.”  After this introductory part of our discussion, our guests went into detail about the medical issues relating to optic nerve changes, pressures, fluid balance and more and what this does to vision.  Our guests were asked how these vision issues might impact a crew on Mars or on the way to Mars but unfortunately not much information is known at this time. Also, we do not know the needed level of gravity to offset the optic nerve, fluid and pressure changes.  Our guests mentioned the upcoming year long crew visit to the ISS and that eye issues will be monitored so that accurate data on vision problems can be collected.  Dr. de Juan did go into many of the medical issues contributing to the vision problem including intraocular pressure and fluid balances.  In addition, we spoke about possible countermeasures.  Both artificial gravity with a short arm centrifuge and mechanical intervention via a certain type of pressure garment were discussed.  Medical intervention was also discussed, then BJohn suggested spinning the spaceship would be more cost effective that other types of countermeasures.  Our guests disagreed, saying medical countermeasures would be designed for patients on Earth as well as astronauts so the market size of potential beneficiaries worldwide would be huge as compared to just a handful of astronauts on a spinning spaceship.  Engineering problems were also cited as a severe cost driver in terms of creating artificial gravity for the crew.  Marshall called to ask about Lasik surgery.  Our guests were then asked about gender & other differences.  Don’t miss these discussions.

In the second segment, Dr. Doug was our first caller.  Doug had multiple questions as usual but first he wanted to know if astronauts could be selected for the longer space missions who had a lengthy stay on the ISS and did not show optic nerve changes or adverse effects.  Our guest thought this would be impractical given around 70% of all astronauts show some vision impact from being in space.  Prisms were talked about as part of mitigation in the form glasses with a variable prescription.  We talked about focus issues in space and on a submarine given my comments about wearing prisms glasses.  Doug’s additional questions dealt with doing a lumbar puncture in space as well as GCRs.  Doug and other listeners via email asked our guests if the vision problems were a show stopper for long duration spaceflight missions.  Don’t miss what Dorit & Gene had to say about this.  Near the end of the program, we talked about the impact of space medicine research on Earth medical problems.  The resulting discussion was most interesting, especially given the examples cited by Dorit via ultrasound in space.  The subject of aerospace medicine medical school programs came up and here Dorit explained the innovative program at Baylor’s Center for Space Medicine.

Please post your comments/questions on TSS blog.  You can contact our guests through me.