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Coalition for Space Exploration Salutes American Heart Month
Date:2/5/2009

Promotes link between space technology and cardiovascular disease

HOUSTON, Feb. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- "I salute American Heart Month, which calls attention to our nation's No. 1 killer - cardiovascular diseases, including stroke. As a former NASA astronaut, as well as having served as a clinical scientist and flight surgeon, I can attest to how innovations from space exploration directly benefit medical and health care fields -- notably through the space agency's heart-related research. The link is quite literally a heartbeat away.

NASA's exploration agenda has spurred many benefits, from offering newfound surgical skills to enhancing treatment prospects. For example, pacemakers used to treat cardiac patients were derived from the required miniaturization of electronics and the telemetry systems that were first used to monitor astronauts and spacecraft. Additionally, the late Dr. Michael DeBakey invented the life-saving MicroMed DeBakey Ventricular Assist Device, commonly referred to as the DeBakey heart pump. The techniques used to help miniaturize the device's inner workings were developed with engineers from NASA.

Another case in point is the work of the NASA-funded National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI) of Houston. In one investigation, NSBRI researchers track progress through several diagnostic resources: invasive measures of cardiac performance using heart catheterization, magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy of the heart and muscle to look at changes in tissue, and ultrasound measurements of both the heart and bone.

An ultimate goal of this investigation is to develop an exercise treatment for astronauts to use on long missions, geared to thwart cardiovascular de-conditioning, muscle atrophy and bone demineralization, which lead to health problems in space. Here on Earth, this research could be used to treat patients experiencing heart disease and other illnes
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SOURCE Coalition for Space Exploration
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