Author: Lucas Rehnberg
NHS Doctor - Anaesthetics & Intensive Care | MSc Space Physiology & Health
My name is Lucas, I am a doctor in the UK working in anaesthetics (or Anaesthesiology for any American readers) and intensive care medicine. I have had an interest in space medicine for over 10 years now, inspired by none other than Prof Thais Russomano who has mentored me over the years and still does. My Master’s dissertation (back in 2009) focused on CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) methods in microgravity, with my continued research interest surrounding critical care in space. I am careful to say that I am a doctor with an interest in space medicine and physiology, as opposed to a ‘Space Doctor’ – as there are many individuals out there who have committed many more years than I have to this field and are vastly more experienced than I am! A club I aspire to join one day.
The idea of this blog, or series of blogs, is to look at some of the latest research in space physiology and space medicine, then consider how this will play out clinically. With a particular focus on critical care and potentially worst-case scenarios when in space (or microgravity environment). Something all doctors will have done in their careers; we are equipped with the skills to critically appraise papers and then ask if they are clinically relevant, or how will it change current practice.
Over the last 60 (ish) years of human space flight, there is lots of evidence to show that there are many risks when the human body has prolonged exposure to microgravity, which can affect most body systems – eyes, brain, neuro-vestibular, psychological, heart, muscle, bone, kidneys, immune system, vasculature, clotting and even some that we haven’t fully figured out yet. But then what needs to be done is to tease out how clinically relevant are these from the research, how could that potentially play out if you were the doctor in space, then how to mitigate that risk and potentially treat it.
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