Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Medical lessons from the space program

From my 1989 book review in the British Medical Journal "Spock the Difference"

re: Survival in Space: Medical Problems of Manned Spaceflight. R. Harding. (Pp xix+227; figs; £14.95.) London: Routledge, 1989.ISBN 0-415-00253-2
Astronauts choice of the most useful drugs in space:
1. Painkillers
2. Sedatives
3. Anti-diarrhoea drugs (I can see why they might be useful in a space suit...)
4. Nasal decongestants (but maybe not used when the anti-diarrhoea pills have run-out)
Major irritations of space travel:
1. Cannot wash properly - never feel clean
2. Sense of isolation
3. Lack of movement
4. Boredom
Physiological effects of prolonged space flight include:
1. Exaggerated tendon reflexes
2. Poor balance
3. Excessive drop of blood pressure on standing
4. Loss of bone calcium
Abilities gained from a 3-day crash course in medicine and dentistry include:
1. Ophthalmoscopy (this took me 3 years)
2. Bladder catheterization (who volunteered to be practised on?)
3. Extracting teeth (!)
4. Inserting temporary fillings (!!)

1 comment:

JP said...

(Today's) major irritation of space travel:

1. Inability to connect to the internet and social media.
2. Poor cell phone service.
3. Hard to download movies to iPad.