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April 29, 1999

John Bluck

NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA

Phone: 650/604-5026 or 650/604-9000


Kathleen A. Zona/Lori J. Rachul

NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, OH

Phone: 216/433-2901


NOTE TO EDITORS AND NEWS DIRECTORS: You are invited to cover a NASA space telemedicine demonstration at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, scheduled at 9:30 a.m. PDT on Tuesday, May 4. To reach Ames, take the Moffett Field exit from Highway 101, drive east to the main gate at Moffett Federal Airfield and report to the visitor badging office. Please arrive early to allow for check-in time at the badging office. You will be directed to the event in building N-258 at the Ames Visualization Laboratory. U.S. media representatives who are U.S. citizens or have green cards must have valid press pass credentials with picture ID in order to enter Ames. Foreign media representatives must present original passports/visas and will be escorted.


Doctors will show how they can diagnose patients using 3-D medical images sent through a high-performance computer wide-area network linking five distant U.S. sites on May 4. The physicians will also demonstrate that NASA telemedicine can help them to practice operations and conduct medical training. The NASA system has potential for improving health care at remote places on Earth by linking them with the best medical minds and facilities.

"We're looking at methods of bringing the clinic to the patient rather than the patient to the clinic," said Dr. Muriel Ross, project leader at the Center for Bioinformatics, NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA, where the NASA telemedicine concept is under development.

"We're supporting remote collaborations of doctors at different locations on Earth. This will prepare us to use the technology for spacecraft crews traveling to Mars or other planets where specialists may not be available," Ross said.

During the demonstration, physicians will use 3-D images of patient's hearts, skulls and other body parts scanned using standard medical tools. On computer screens, doctors at the five sites will see every procedure in stereo 3-D in near real-time as each physician manipulates images of his virtual patient.

The specialists will use high fidelity, NASA-developed 3-D imaging software to analyze and discuss patients.

The "Virtual Collaborative Clinic" will link Cleveland Clinic physicians at the NASA Glenn Research Center, Cleveland OH; and other health care specialists at Stanford University Medical Center, Stanford, CA. In addition, doctors from Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital, Salinas, CA, will participate from the University of California, Santa Cruz. The Northern Navajo Medical Center, Shiprock, NM; and NASA Ames will also be connected by the computer network.

"Cleveland Clinic physicians will discuss a patient treated for an enlarged ventricle," Ross said. "If you cut a piece out and make the ventricle smaller, you improve the way the heart works; during the demonstration you'll be able to see the before and after conditions of the patient's heart in 3-D."

Three organizations will present examples of their heart research: the Cleveland Clinic, Salinas Hospital and the Northern Navajo Medical Center. Salinas plans to show a defective infant heart beating. Stanford University Medical Center physician, Dr. Michael Stephanides, will simulate facial reconstructive surgery from Ames.

At Ames, the event will begin at 9:30 a.m. PDT with remarks by Ross and invited dignitaries. The online demonstration will begin at 10:30 a.m., and will continue for one hour. Following the online events, hands-on demonstrations in which industry will participate will follow in the building lobby. There will be interview opportunities with Ross and partners from NASA, academia and industry.

Broadcasters nationwide may request live satellite television interviews with Dr. Ross and Dr. Stephanides, Stanford plastic and reconstructive surgeon, by calling Laura Lewis at 650-604-2162 or John Bluck at 604-5026. "Live shot" time slots will be from 2 p.m. – 6 p.m. PDT, and will be broadcast via NASA television on GE-2 (C-Band satellite), transponder 9C at 85 degrees west longitude, vertical polarization with a downlink frequency of 3880 MHz and audio of 6.8 MHz.

More information about the Center for Bioinformatics is on the Internet at:

NASA Research and Education Network engineers at Ames are providing the high-performance network for the demonstration and are continuing to study how to enable large data and image computer files to be moved from one place to another.


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April 29, 1999

To: Assignment Editors and Evening News Producers

From: Laura Lewis 650-604-2162, pager 650-317-0551 and John Bluck 650-604-5026

Live Interview Opportunity with Telemedicine Experts

NASA will showcase a space telemedicine technology on May 4 that has the potential to improve health care on Earth. During the demonstration, NASA will create a Virtual Collaborative Clinic by linking five distant U.S. sites through a high-performance computer wide-area network. Once linked, doctors will use 3-D medical images to discuss and diagnose virtual patients, practice operations and conduct medical training. This technology will also allow doctors in remote locations to consult with specialists and collaborate with other physicians. Eventually, telemedicine may be used to help sick or injured astronauts traveling in space.

Participants in the Virtual Collaborative Clinic demonstration include Stanford University Medical Clinic, Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital, the Northern Navajo Medical Center, the Cleveland Clinic and NASA Ames.

Discuss the Virtual Collaborative Clinic live, via satellite, with NASA's Dr. Muriel Ross or Stanford's Dr. Michael Stephanides

Book a window with Dr. Muriel Ross, the NASA scientist responsible for the technology, on Tuesday, May 4, between 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. EST, or book a window with Dr. Michael Stephanides, a surgeon from Stanford who also helped develop the technology, between 7:00-9:00 p.m. EST. Ask these experts:

  • What this technology will do to improve health care
  • How this technology will change the way doctors practice medicine
  • When our own doctors will be able to use this technology
  • Why NASA and Stanford view this as an important medical advance

Muriel Ross, Ph.D., is the Director of the Center for Bioinformatics at NASA Ames Research Center. Michael Stephanides, M.D., is a Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon at the Stanford University Medical Center, and the Medical Director of the National Biocomputation Center. The National Biocomputation Center is a collaborative project between NASA and Stanford University.

To book an interview call Laura Lewis at Ames Research Center 650-604-2162, pager 650-317-0551, or John Bluck at 650-604-5026.

On May 4, the b-roll and live interviews carried on NASA TV will originate from Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA. On May 3, B-roll will be available on the NASA TV Video File at noon, 3:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m., 9:00 p.m. and midnight Eastern Time. NASA TV is broadcast on GE-2 (C-Band satellite), transponder 9C at 85 degrees west longitude, vertical polarization with a downlink frequency of 3880 Mhz and audio of 6.8 Mhz. In case of trouble during the interview, call Ames master control at 650-604-1536.

More information about the Center for Bioinformatics is on the Internet at:



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