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Wyle Personnel Take Part in Important Studies Aboard the International Space Station
Date:11/16/2009

EL SEGUNDO, Calif., Nov. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Medical and technical experts at Wyle are assisting two important NASA projects on the International Space Station. Their efforts will help astronauts cope with effects of long-duration spaceflight similar to what might be experienced in a future mission to Mars.

"If successful, these studies will both improve astronaut health during space exploration missions and provide us with better insight into cardiovascular function here on Earth," said Dr. Douglas Hamilton, one of the senior investigators on the studies.

Wyle personnel include Dr. Douglas Ebert, Dr. Hamilton, and Dr. Ashot Sargsyan and sonographers Kathleen Garcia, David Martin and Suzanne Poston. They provide ultrasound, telemedicine, cardiovascular and project management expertise for the project, which will develop a remotely-guided ultrasound methodology and evaluate cardiovascular function and adaptation to microgravity.

On Earth, ultrasound scans are typically performed by experienced technicians and interpreted by physicians. In space, it is necessary for crewmembers, who have little or no ultrasound experience, to perform these scans on themselves or on each other. Remote guidance telemedicine techniques used on the International Space Station allow astronauts to perform these exams in space and send the scans to Earth for interpretation by medical professionals.

The problem is made even more difficult by the behavior of fluids, organs and soft tissue in weightlessness. Diagnostic imaging on earth uses gravity-based imaging techniques because gravity plays a significant role in the location of fluids and soft tissue. In microgravity, the distribution of fluid is determined by a combination of other factors like surface tension, pressure gradients and tissue and organ compliance.

The first project uses a Russian occlusion cuff system to acutely alter volume distribution in crewmembers whil
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