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Coalition for Space Exploration Salutes American Heart Month

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 illnesses.

NASA's reach outward to the Moon, Mars and beyond provides a spillover of down-to-Earth medical and health payback benefits. Building upon over 50 years of research, a vibrant space program can continue to foster ground-breaking biotechnology and biomedical innovations and discoveries for the global common good.

American Heart Month deserves recognition for the health and well-being of all of us here on Earth."

Dr. Bernard Harris

Coalition for Space Exploration Board Member

Dr. Bernard Harris is a former space shuttle astronaut and is president and chief executive officer of Vesalius Ventures Inc., a venture capital accelerator for medical informatics and technology.

About the Coalition for Space Exploration:

The Coalition for Space Exploration is a collaboration of space industry businesses and advocacy groups whose mission is to educate and inform the public on the value and benefits of space exploration and to help ensure the United States will remain a leader in space, science and technology - key factors that will benefit every American, strengthen our nation's economy and maintain our national security.


SOURCE Coalition for Space Exploration
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