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Space research gives birth to new ultrasound tools for health care in orbit, on Earth
Date:6/23/2011

ternatively, if you are trying to look at subtle changes in how the heart functions in zero-gravity after six months, that takes considerably more expertise, and may take hours or even days of evaluation to do."

As in space, low costs and reduced-resource consumption make ultrasound an attractive option on Earth, but until recently, the lack of trained personnel has been an issue. Based on their research for NSBRI, Dulchavsky and his colleagues have spun off the techniques for terrestrial use and published "The ICU Ultrasound Pocket Book" a reference guide for conducting examinations.

"The American College of Surgeons, which is charged with continuing education of surgeons in our country, saw the methods we developed for space and has now incorporated these techniques in its ultrasound training courses for all of the surgeons in the United States," Dulchavsky said. "Similarly, medical schools are starting to incorporate this training for all medical students, not just surgeons."

The ultrasound imaging techniques are also being used by athletic trainers for some professional sports teams and the United States Olympic Committee to get point-of-care rapid information about athletes' injuries.

However, it is rural locations, both inside and outside the United States, that stand to gain the most from the diagnostic ultrasound capabilities and telemedicine. Dulchavsky has been collaborating with the World Interactive Network Focused on Critical UltraSound (WINFOCUS) to train individuals to use ultrasound techniques in under-served regions.

"The use of ultrasound truly enhances people's opportunities to access and provide accurate, immediate, cost-effective health care," said Dr. Luca Neri, director of the WINFOCUS Global Ultrasound Program, and scientific chair of the "Point-of-care Lombardia UltraSound" project at Niguarda Ca' Granda Hospital and AREU EMS Public Regional Company in Milan, Italy. "Particularly, within the res
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Contact: Brad Thomas
rbthomas@bcm.edu
713-798-7595
National Space Biomedical Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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