Melissa Mathews/Beth Dickey
July 17, 2007
NASA Welcomes Doctors' Support for Human Space Exploration
WASHINGTON - NASA welcomes a vote of support for its future space exploration plans from the nation's largest organization of doctors. The American Medical Association recently passed a resolution in support of human space travel, citing "potential future benefits to medicine and advances in patient care."
The resolution passed in a unanimous vote at the AMA's annual meeting of its House of Delegates, held in June in Chicago. The AMA also reaffirmed support for medical research on the space shuttle and International Space Station.
NASA's space exploration programs have played a role in key advancements in medical science, from diagnostics to telemedicine to a space shuttle-derived heart pump.
"We're pleased the nation's doctors recognize the value of what we do in space to improve the quality of life on Earth," said Scott "Doc" Horowitz, NASA's associate administrator for Exploration Systems. "To understand the universe, we also have to understand how our own bodies and minds hold up to the rigors of spaceflight. Improved medical knowledge and innovative medical technology are certain to come from that."
Long-duration spaceflight, such as a mission on the space station or to a future moon outpost, offers opportunities to study issues common to spacefaring astronauts and Earth-bound patients. Astronauts currently aboard the space station are participating in experiments on sleep, nutrition, the immune system and isolation and confinement. NASA researchers also are working to improve measures to counter the loss of bone mineral density and muscle strength, problems faced by astronauts in microgravity as well as patients on prolonged bed rest.
The new, interactive, online feature "NASA Anatomy" highlights the space program's contributions to medical science. For it and more information about NASA benefits, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/spinoffs
NASA is working to send astronauts to the moon by 2020 in preparation for journeys to Mars and other destinations in the solar system. To learn more about NASA's exploration plans, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/exploration
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