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October 14, 2004

Kelly Humphries
Johnson Space Center, Houston



Renowned medical pioneer Dr. Michael E. DeBakey will be among those at NASA to watch an extraordinary house call as doctors at a Canadian hospital pay a virtual visit to explorers in an underwater lab off the coast of Florida.

DeBakey, chancellor emeritus of Baylor College of Medicine, will tour JSC’s Exploration Planning Operations Center (ExPOC) Oct. 18 to watch the remote medicine test and have an opportunity to talk with the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) 7 crew. Media are invited. DeBakey, a pioneer in telemedicine, has had a long collaboration with NASA, working with engineers to develop a lifesaving device for heart disease patients based on the Space Shuttle fuel pump.

To attend, media should contact the JSC newsroom at: 281/483-5111 by 1 p.m. CDT Friday, Oct. 15. Video and still imagery of NEEMO 7 training and operations also are available.

During an 11-day mission that began Oct. 11, the NEEMO 7 crew is demonstrating long-distance health care techniques. Those include telementoring and telerobotic surgery in cooperation with Canada’s Centre for Minimal Access Surgery (CMAS) at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Such techniques could be a key to maintaining the health of future spacefarers and responding to medical emergencies on the International Space Station, the moon or Mars. Advancements in the field also are of vital interest to physicians coping with vast distances separating patients and health care providers in parts of Canada.

Canadian Astronaut David Williams, originally assigned to command the NEEMO 7 mission, will serve as host for the visit. Joining DeBakey will be Dr. Jeffrey P. Sutton, director, and Dr. Bobby R. Alford, chairman of the board and CEO of the National Space Biomedical Research Institute, and Dr. Jeff Davis, director of JSC’s Space and Life Sciences Directorate. CMAS Director Dr. Mehran Anvari will be making a visit to the Aquarius laboratory at the time of DeBakey’s visit in Houston.

For information about NASA and agency programs on the Internet, visit:

For more information about the NEEMO project, visit:


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