Broadcast 1126 (Special Edition)

22 Mar 2009 Dr. Petra Illig
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Guest: Dr. Petra Illig. Topics: aerospace medicine, passenger health and safety, FAA, spaceflight participants, and pre-existing medical conditions. Dr. Petra Illig was our guest today to discuss with us aviation and personal spaceflight medicine from the perspective of the spaceflight participant. Our discussion started out by asking Dr. Illig to extrapolate from her body of work on aviation passenger health to the health factors concerning the spaceflight participant. Our first segment covered suborbital tourism, our second segment addressed orbital tourism, and in the third segment we discussed a variety of related topics. Our discussion included drug abuse, including alcohol, and other drugs that a participant might be using and what this might mean for a spaceflight. We also talked about prescription drugs, psychological conditions, claustrophobia, and even terminal illness. We asked if a passenger's health needed to be disclosed to the spaceflight operator and other passengers and you will want to hear how Dr. Illig responded to this question. Another topic that came up was the possibility of someone dying on the flight and continuing on with the flight with the body as there would likely be no way to abort or return even if something that catastrophic happened to a passenger. Based on listener questions, we talked about the need for the spaceflight operators and vehicle designers to take into consideration the probable health profile of their target market in spacecraft design, certainly in their training and protocols for working with the spaceflight participants. Listeners asked and commented about various medical conditions, some more basic and common than others, and Dr. Illig let us know how one could do a spaceflight given such conditions. We talked about the need for a participant/patient comprehensive medical questionnaire and the need to fully plan and be open about personal medical conditions with a qualified space medicine doctor. Later in the show, we discussed how many flights might be needed to obtain sufficient data to know what the regulatory regime should look like or how it should be modified, if modification was even warranted. You will want to hear this discussion and what was said about sufficient and effective data collection. Dr. Illig has two websites that will interest you if you would like to learn more about aviation and space medicine. Please visit http://www.airspacedoc.com/ and her space medicine organization site, http://spacemedicineassociates.com/ . If you would like to send Dr. Illig a comment or question, please use the Contact page on her website, http://spacemedicineassociates.com/index.php?a=43 . Per that page, her email address is pillig@spacemedicineassociates.com . Please mention The Space Show in the subject line.

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