BOX 3–6 Health Care Opportunities in Space Medicine

  1. Expanding, validating, and standardizing a modified physical examination, the microgravity examination technique, and including a technique for pelvic examination for use in microgravity.

  2. Developing an easily accessible database for medications on the spacecraft, including dosage, indications, adverse effects, and anticipated changes in the pharmacokinetic profile in microgravity.

  3. Developing an easily accessible hazardous materials manual for space travel to aid in the surveillance, detection, decontamination, and treatment of chemical exposures.

  4. Monitoring and quantifying particulates on a continuing basis.

  5. Examining the capability of microbial identification, control, and treatment during space travel.

  6. Developing methods for noise cancellation or reduction.

  7. Standardizing ergonomic practices on the basis of the human body’s response to the microgravity environment.

  8. Developing methods to measure human solar and cosmic radiation exposures and the means to prevent or mitigate their effects.

  9. Providing a thorough cardiovascular evaluation similar to the premission evaluation at the cessation of space travel to provide useful data as part of the continuum of astronaut care and to aid in establishing an evidence base for cardiovascular disorders during space travel.

  10. Developing a program for instruction in basic dental prophylaxis, the treatment of common dental emergencies such as gingivitis, tooth fracture, dental trauma, caries, and dental abscesses; and tooth extractions.

  11. Studying the bioavailability and pharmacological function of exogenous hormone therapy during space travel and, as new medical therapies for gynecological surgical conditions evolve, testing of these therapies for use during space travel.

  12. Performing clinical studies on anemia, immunity, wound infection, and wound healing as part of every space mission.

  13. Developing methods for the identification and management of mood disorders and suicidal or homicidal ideation and developing protocols for the management of violent behavior, including crisis intervention, pharmacological restraint, and physical restraint.

  14. Establishing a coordinated clinical research program that addresses the issues of neurological safety and care for astronauts during long-duration missions beyond Earth orbit.

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