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    Human Health and Performance - News

    June 2013 - Space Station Live: Ocular Health for Astronauts

    Aboard the International Space Station, Flight Engineers Karen Nyberg and Luca Parmitano recently began the first runs of an important new study looking into the vision changes experienced by astronauts during long-duration missions. View the video.

    May 2013 - NASA Ultrasound Chosen for Space Technology Hall of Fame

    Two ultrasound devices developed by NASA’s Johnson Space Center and Mediphan of Ontario, Canada, were inducted into the Space Technology Hall of Fame at the 29th National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colo. The DistanceDoc, which allows remote ultrasound users to transmit images securely in real time over the internet, and MedRecorder, which captures diagnostic-quality images for future reference, both allow for telemedicine ultrasound procedures to be performed in previously inaccessible locations by minimally trained individuals.

    February 2013 - NASA Asks The 'Crowd' To Help Track What Astronauts Eat

    NASA has put a man on the moon, but it hasn’t yet come up with an efficient and accurate way for the International Space Station (ISS) crew to track their diets. But diet logging isn’t rocket science, so NASA is turning to “the crowd” for help. The NASA International Space Station Food Intake Tracker—or ISS FIT—Challenge, launched February 10, is the latest open-innovation contest sponsored by the NASA Tournament Lab - a partnership between NASA, Harvard’s Institute of Qualitative Social Science, and competitive software-development community TopCoder.

    January 2013 - The Taming of the Stomach

    HH&P’s Lakshmi Putcha, Chief Pharmacologist at NASA-JSC, is featured as well as the nasal spray NASA and Epiomed Therapeutics created to help fight motion sickness in a recent New York Times article: The Taming of the Stomach.

    November 2012 - ASU Discovers: New Perspectives on Research

    HH&P’s Scott Smith and Post Doctoral Fellow, Jennifer Morgan explain benefits and importance of the Anbar calcium isotope study to Arizona PBS TV. View the ASU Discovers: New Perspectives on Research video on YouTube.

    August 2012 - Benefits for Bone From Resistance Exercise and Nutrition in Long-Duration Spaceflight: Evidence From Biochemistry and Densitometry

    Exercise has shown little success in mitigating bone loss from long-duration spaceflight. The first crews of the International Space Station (ISS) used the ‘‘interim resistive exercise device’’ (iRED), which allowed loads of up to 297 lbf (or 1337 N) but provided little protection of bone or no greater protection than aerobic exercise. In 2008, the Advanced Resistive Exercise Device (ARED), which allowed absolute loads of up to 600 lbf (1675 N), was launched to the ISS. We report dietary intake, bone densitometry, and biochemical markers in 13 crewmembers on ISS missions from 2006 to 2009. Of these 13, 8 had access to the iRED and 5 had access to the ARED. In both groups, bone-specific alkaline phosphatase tended to increase during flight toward the end of the mission (p¼0.06) and increased 30 days after landing (p<0.001).

    August 2012 - Visual stability of laser vision correction in an astronaut on a Soyuz mission to the International Space Station

    This report documents the effects of photorefractive keratectomy (PRK) in an astronaut during a 12-day Russian Soyuz mission to the International Space Station in 2008. Changing environmental conditions of launch, microgravity exposure, and reentry create an extremely dynamic ocular environment. Although many normal eyes have repeatedly been subject to such stresses, the effect on an eye with a relatively thin cornea as a result of PRK has not been reported. This report suggests that PRK is a safe, effective, and well-tolerated procedure in astronauts during space flight. Journal of Cataract & Refractive Surgery article (PDF)

    August 2012 - Effects of Refractive Surgery in Extreme Altitude or Space

    The stability and function of a normal healthy visual system can be influenced by circumstances such as great depth or high altitude.1–3 As refractive surgery changes the properties of the cornea and the lens, concerns about refractive or intraocular lens (IOL) procedures in humans exposed to extreme situations have been raised. Journal of Cataract & Refractive Surgery article (PDF)

    August 3, 2012 - Building an out-of-this-world menu for Mars

    As the rover Curiosity makes its journey to Mars, food scientists on Earth are exploring whether astronauts with a green thumb will be the key to feeding at least a six-person crew on a future mission to the Red Planet. "The big challenge is having a food system that is going to work for that long-duration mission," says Michele Perchonok, NASA's Advanced Food Technology Project Scientist.

    July 27, 2012 - Life on Mars: how close are we to living in space?

    Decades after the launch of space programmes around the world, just how close are we getting to living on the Red Planet – or anywhere in space, for that matter? In 2009, NASA released a comprehensive report following its review of human spaceflight plans. While the Augustine Report (PDF) affirmed the ultimate goal of human exploration being to “chart a path for human expansion into the solar system”, the report suggested nearer destinations which should be considered as human spaceflight objectives in the short- to medium-term, including the Moon, Mars and near asteroids.

    May 28, 2012 - Earlier detection of bone loss may be in future: NASA-funded research looks to isotope analysis rather than X-ray for measurement

    TEMPE, Ariz. – Are your bones getting stronger or weaker? Right now, it’s hard to know. Scientists at Arizona State University and NASA are taking on this medical challenge by developing and applying a technique that originated in the Earth sciences. In a new study, this technique was more sensitive in detecting bone loss than the X-ray method used today, with less risk to patients. Eventually, it may find use in clinical settings, and could pave the way for additional innovative biosignatures to detect disease.

    September 15, 2011 - 2011 National Security and International Affairs Medal Awarded to NASA Employee

    The 2011 National Security and International Affairs Medal was awarded to James Michael Duncan and Team. This medal recognizes a federal employee for a significant contribution to the nation in activities related to national security and international affairs (including defense, military affairs, diplomacy, foreign assistance and trade). Achievement: Provided medical, nutritional, psychological, survival and engineering expertise learned from space exploration to help 33 Chilean miners who were trapped 2,300 feet underground for 69 days.

    July 14, 2011 - NASA Tournament Lab: Open Innovation On-Demand

    The NASA Tournament Lab (NTL) announced the winners of NASA’s most recent competition--one that challenged the Lab community to build software that automatically detects craters in orbital images. Large-scale, automatic, and robust crater detection algorithms can help solve challenging and important problems in space exploration since craters can provide important information on planet formation and geology; inform the selection of landing sites; provide valuable data for path planning and rover navigation; and help scientists align disparate data sets such as those produced by radar and laser altimetry.

    June 1, 2011 - Duane L. Pierson Awarded Tech Brief Award

    Duane L. Pierson of NASA Johnson Space Center Space and Life Sciences received a Tech Brief Award for an effort entitled "Rapid Detection Of The Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV) In Saliva Samples". This award provides recognition for inventions and other scientific and technical contributions that have helped NASA to achieve its aeronautical and space goals.

    May 12, 2011 - Subjects Lie on Back for 60 Days for Astronaut Exercise Study

    Gary Conway is not only the kind of guy who cares about “The Right Stuff;" he also cares about the right fluff - of his pillow after lying in a hospital bed for two weeks. While Conway is cared for like a critically ill patient, he is in fact a perfectly healthy NASA guinea pig. He’s part of study where subjects agree to stay in bed at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston for up to 60 days straight.

    May 9, 2011 - NASA Employees Are Finalists For Top Government Award

    The Washington Post listed the finalists for the Samuel J. Heyman Service to America medals that will be awarded to Federal employees in nine categories. The Finalists for the awards, chosen by the Partnership for Public Service initiative and known as the “Sammies,” include two NASA teams. A team led by James Michael Duncan is nominated for the National Security and International Affairs category while Diane Powell and the LAUNCH team is nominated for Science and Environment.

    May 3, 2011 - Talking to the Experts: NASA Dietitian Barbara Rice

    There’s more to space food than the freeze-dried ice cream for sale at space museum gift shops. The Food Network speaks with NASA dietitian Barbara Rice to find out how astronauts prepare for their missions and what they really eat in space (Hint: that ice cream isn’t even on the menu).

    April 22, 2011 - InnoCentive Investigation of the Challenge Driven Innovation Platform at NASA

    An Evaluation of the Open Innovation Pilot Program between NASA and InnoCentive, Inc.

    April 18, 2011 - Rice University Business Plan Competition awards $1.3 million in cash and prizes

    HOUSTON-Diagenetix, Inc., University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa won the NASA Johnson Space Center $20,000 prize at the 2011 Rice Business Plan Competition for the Best Earth/Space Life Science Innovation.

    April 18, 2011 - It Takes Moon Shot to Ace This Class

    The Wall Street Journal- The Space Life Sciences Directorate and Columbia University are joining forces to study the future for mankind in space, including work through a design studio in Columbia's Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.

    April 15, 2011 - NASA Device Inducted Into Space Technology Hall Of Fame

    HOUSTON -- A rotating device developed by NASA inventors to grow better living tissue specimens was inducted into the Space Technology Hall of Fame Thursday, April 14. The Space Foundation honored the NASA team who created the device, which promises help for several diseases, during a ceremony at the 27th National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

    April 6, 2011 - NASA Announces Results of Pilot Program With

    HOUSTON -- NASA's Space Life Sciences Directorate (SLSD) at the Johnson Space Center in Houston announced results of a pilot program conducted by that identified partnerships to work on six technical needs related to human spaceflight. The needs range from better food packaging materials to a portable bone-imaging device.

    March 10, 2011 - Space Foundation to Induct Two Technologies into Space Technology Hall of Fame®

    Two diverse technologies, including the famed biorector developed within the Spae Life Sciences Directorate, will be inducted into the Space Technology Hall of Fame® next month during the Space Foundation's 27th National Space Symposium at The Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

    February 4, 2011 - White House Releases New Report on American Innovation

    WASHINGTON – Today, the White House released “A Strategy for American Innovation: Securing Our Economic Growth and Prosperity,” an update to the administration’s innovation report from September 2009. The report outlines the importance of investing in innovation to grow our economy, create jobs and win the future.

    January 19, 2011 - Funding: Researching outside the box

    "Open innovation offers scientists novel ways to apply their expertise — and sometimes provides much-needed cash. Even a government agency, steeped in bureaucracy and decades of tradition, may have something to gain from open innovation — and researchers eager to work with that agency could benefit (C. Jimenez, 2011)." Download the PDF

    October 28, 2010 - President Obama and NASA Administrator Bolden Recognize Employees for Roles in Chilean Miner Rescue

    President Barack Obama welcomed NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and a NASA team that assisted trapped Chilean miners to the Oval Office on Thursday for a ceremony that recognized Americans involved in the rescue.

    October 26, 2010 - 'EMERGENCY MINE RESCUE' will be airing on PBS/NOVA

    Engineers and NASA scientists aid an all-out effort to save 33 Chilean miners trapped nearly half a mile underground. Aired October 26, 2010 on PBS.

    October 20, 2010 - NASA Announces Launch of Human Health and Performance Center

    NASA has established a global forum for organizations interested in advancing human health and performance innovations in space and on Earth. NASA's Human Health and Performance Center (NHHPC) will give members an opportunity to collaborate, network and share information. NHHPC members include NASA centers and partners, industry, academic institutions, government agencies and nonprofit organizations. Members will work together to advance human health and performance innovations for spaceflight, commercial aviation and any challenging environment on Earth.

    October 13, 2010 - NASA Establishes Tournament Lab For Software Developers

    NASA and Harvard University have established the NASA Tournament Lab (NTL), which will enable software developers to compete with each other to create the best computer code for NASA systems. The NTL provides an online virtual facility for NASA researchers with a computational or complex data processing challenge to "order" a solution, just like they would order laboratory tests or supplies.

    October 1, 2010 - Keeping Fit in Zero Gravity →

    Video: NASA is finding ways to stay in shape in space, asking college students for ideas

    September 7, 2010 - NASA Provides Assistance to Trapped Chilean Miners

    A Space Life Sciences medical team traveled to Chile the week of September August 30th, to provide advice to the teams trying to reach the trapped miners at Copiapo. The team was led by Dr. Mike Duncan, deputy Chief Medical Officer at JSC, and included Dr. JD Polk, Dr. Al Holland and the NESC.

    September 7, 2010 - Prize Platform Invites Citizens to Solve Nation’s Challenges

    In search of novel solutions to the tricky problem of how to keep astronauts fit during prolonged periods of weightlessness, NASA found an unlikely ally in Alex Altshuler. Altshuler works for a mechanical engineering firm in Foxboro, MA. He had never before responded to a formal government Request for Proposal (RFP), let alone worked with NASA. Yet, the exercise device he designed in response to a NASA challenge constituted a major breakthrough in mitigating the loss of bone and muscle density in astronauts. NASA dubbed the results “outstanding.”

    September 1, 2010 - NIH Awards Grants to Support Biomedical Research in Space

    The National Institutes of Health announced today that it has awarded the first new grants under the Biomedical Research on the International Space Station (BioMed-ISS) initiative, a collaborative effort between NIH and NASA.

    August 20, 2010 - UTMB Plays Role in Space Travel Center

    The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston was selected by the Federal Aviation Administration as part of the newly formed Air Transportation Center of Excellence for Commercial Space Transportation, announced Wednesday by U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

    August 18, 2010 - NASA Seeks Innovative Ideas About Human Health Challenges

    WASHINGTON -- NASA will host LAUNCH: Health, a global forum focusing on health issues, at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida from Oct. 30-31.

    July 13, 2010 - NASA Open Innovation Competition Delivers Three Winning Solutions

    Last week, NASA announced “outstanding results” from three pilot Challenges posted on InnoCentive, an online innovation marketplace where more than 200,000 of the world’s brightest minds solve tough problems for cash awards.

    July 7, 2010 - NASA Announces Winners of Space Life Sciences Open Innovation Competition

    HOUSTON - The Space Life Sciences Directorate (SLSD) at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston has selected three winning solutions to address astronaut health and performance issues.

    May 5, 2010 - Leading the Open Government Movement at NASA

    The SLSD's open source efforts are highlighted on the website.

    April 26, 2010 - Open Innovation Projects.

    The NASA Open Innovation projects develop challenges that seek innovative solutions to research and technology problems that impact human health and performance in short and long duration human spaceflight. The challenges are offered through organizations (InnoCentive and that offer challenges to a national and international community of potential solvers. A third pilot project was established with TopCoder and Harvard Business School to evaluate an open source code competition. These are pilot projects to determine the effectiveness of open innovation in solving NASA research and technology problems.

    April 20, 2010 - 2010 Hall of Distinguished Alumni at the University of Kentucky Inducts SLSD Employee

    Congratulations to Barbara Rice from the Human Adaptation and Countermeasures Division’s Nutritional Biochemistry Laboratory who was inducted into the 2010 Hall of Distinguished Alumni at the University of Kentucky. Every five years the University of Kentucky Alumni Association recognizes a select group of outstanding alumni and honors them by inducting them into the Hall of Distinguished Alumni.

    February 17, 2010 - NASA STS-130 Tweet-Up, Ambassadors from SLSD

    Four individuals from Space Life Sciences (Liz Warren, Ali Llewellyn, Nick Skytland, and Dr. Erge Edgu-Fry) were invited to serve as NASA Ambassadors Feb 17th 2010 at the NASA STS-130 Tweet-Up. This major outreach event connected 100 invited guests who are active twitterers about space exploration with the real-time happenings of STS-130 here at JSC. Human research and human adaptation to microgravity were major themes in the visitors' questions, and the ambassadors were inspired to answer questions and meet so many committed space advocates, including @pillownaut, who has blogged enthusiastically about her time learning about the bed rest study!

    October 27, 2009 - NASA Awards Space Radiobiology Research Grants.

    WASHINGTON -- NASA is funding 12 proposals from nine states to investigate questions about the effects of space radiation on human explorers. The selected proposals from researchers in Alabama, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon, Texas, Virginia and Washington have a total value of approximately $13.7 million.

    October 21, 2009 - NASA Kicks Off Open Innovation Competition to Benefit Spaceflight.

    NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston kicked off an experimental programming competition today in conjunction with TopCoder, Inc. and researchers from Harvard Business School and London Business School. The competition, conducted for the center's Space Life Sciences Directorate (SLSD), is aimed at developing algorithms that optimize medical kits for long-duration human space exploration.

    June 2, 2009 - NASA Selects Four Proposals to Study Space Radiation Risks.

    WASHINGTON -- NASA has selected four proposals for research to help understand space radiation's effects on humans living in space. NASA selected proposals from the New York University School of Medicine in New York, the University of Texas Medical Branch in Houston, Loma Linda University in California and Georgetown University in Washington. The universities will work with collaborating organizations around the country.

    April 3, 2009 - NASA Awards $80,000 in Rice Alliance Business Plan Competition.

    The Johnson Space Center Innovation Partnerships Office in conjunction with JSC's Space Life Sciences Directorate (SLSD) and Engineering Directorate presented four awards - $80,000 in total prize money - as part of the 2009 Rice Business Plan Competition. Each company was awarded $20,000.

    April 10, 2008 - U. of Illinois-Chicago Team Wins First NASA Life Science Award.

    HOUSTON - A team of graduate students from the University of Illinois at Chicago has received the first NASA Earth/Space Life Science Innovation Award given at the 2008 Rice Business Plan Competition.

    January 28, 2008 - NASA Uses Vertical Treadmill to Improve Astronaut Health in Space.

    WASHINGTON - NASA is using a new treadmill that allows people to run while suspended horizontally to help astronauts prepare for long-duration missions to the moon and beyond.

    Johnson Space Center News.

    • News and links to Johnson Space Center related content on the web, including Missions, Multimedia, Events, Education, Doing Business with JSC, Space Station, Space Shuttle, and Astronaut Profiles.

    Conrad Awards.

    Space Life Sciences - Exploring Space | Enhancing Life
    /centers/johnson/doc/537838main_2011 RBPC wiinners announced KPCB.doc