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Guest: Linda Plush; Topics: Human spaceflight medical concerns, challenges, solutions, mitigations, R&D, budget issues, progress, engineering differences and more.
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We welcomed back Linda Plus to discuss leading human spaceflight medical issues, challenges, solutions, mitigation strategies, reality checks and more. This was a one segment 100 minute discussion with many listener emails and phone calls, especially during the first half of the program. I started the interview by asking Linda what had changed since she was last on the program in 2005 regarding human spaceflight medicine. She slightly modified the question to include a recent event she attended that looked at the last 58 year of human spaceflight medicine and related topics. I believe this is the event Linda attended: https://engage.aiaa.org/losangeles-lasvegas/events/event-description?CalendarEventKey=0a89bfd0-1694-4e1f-9501-641b21f0ac90&CommunityKey=fb23f0f9-8810-4bad-b76b-a969fbfafe5f&Home=%2Fevents%2Fcalendar. You want to listen carefully to segment because Linda presented us with many important statistics and concerns discussed at the event reflecting the sum total of our human spaceflight experience with medicine and engineering over the past 58 years. Her commentary was very comprehensive do don't miss it. It also covered many aspects of human spaceflight, including medicine and R&D. Linda did focus in on microgravity and radiation issues but many others were included in her summary of the event she attended along with being included in the statistical analysis she provided us.
Marshall called in early to ask about artificial gravity and how that might change the microgravity, bone loss and muscle issues. Linda agreed and addressed many of the reasons why artificial gravity had not be experimented with or explored, especially in space with the ISS. After this early part of the discussion and the call, Katy emailed Linda about nursing career opportunities in NASA, especially if the nurse wanted to fly and go to space. Don't miss what Linda said about nursing and NAS. I thought it was interesting and fresh news. I then received three email from Dr. Doug challenging and taking issue with some of what Linda was saying. I read each of his notes on air so note what he said, how Linda responded and then my mild rant after I read his third email. As you will hear, I suggested Doug and others were mixing present day with what might become real at sometime in the future. Linda was asked questions regarding her assessment of conditions in the past through today. She was not asked to speculate on solutions for the future. I suggested via my mild rant that many were suggesting that what might be plausible down the road in the future is already a solution to day. I took issue with that. Let us know what you think about this and what Doug said plus Linda's response. Post your comments on our blog for this show.
Linda spent some time talking about the gap between engineers and life scientists. We have talked about this before with multiple guests including Dr. Jim Logan. Linda took this discussion to new levels given the impact of the gap on human spaceflight medical factors. Another issue that came up multiple times during the early part of the program was the need for much more data. At one point I asked Linda if there was ever going to be enough data so why not just do flights and get on the job training. Don't miss what she said in response to my question.
Tony called from Pasadena and talked about animal studies. He also asked about how being in space might even impact how one would be treated for a medical condition back on earth. This was quite the discussion so don't miss it. At the conclusion of it, Tony was asking about extreme environment comparisons on multiple issues and mentioned Alaska. I pointed him to the Alice Glenn interview regarding space and comparisons with the Barrows, Alaska environment. Alice was a guest last year. Here is her program link: https://www.thespaceshow.com/show/04-mar-2018/broadcast-3074-alice-glenn. Other things discussed by Tony and Linda including Seasonal Affected Disorder (SAD), daylight adaption issues, other syndromes, plus the NASA Hera Project (https://www.nasa.gov/analogs/hera).
Linda had much to say about radiation, GCRs, shielding, living underground and the problems associated with being underground long term, plus more. She said human missions were typically mission driven so they were not designed to collect lots of needed medical data. She had much to say about this during our discussion.
Ft. Worth John called to once again talk about artificial gravity and centrifuge studies which we all agree are needed. We then asked Linda about some of the other studies undertaken in recent years such as those on cognitive behavior and vision. A listener wanted to know about crew monitory so Linda talked about the challenges in monitoring crew, the need for crew consent which was not always given, plus issues relating to HIPAA. One thing that came up was the pharmaceutical kit carried into space. Linda told the story how at one time she wanted to put a dosimeter in the kit to measure radiation on the drugs in the kit. NASA turned out down as it was going to be too complex and costly. I asked her how putting a dosimeter monitor in the drug kit could be complex and costly. Don't miss Linda explaining this to us. Boy, talk about bureaucracy!!!
Linda offered concluding comments and once again she made it clear she too wants to go with HSF to the Moon, Mars, and BLEO. Lots needs to be done to get us to the point of doing it. We want to know your thoughts on this so do post them on the blog for this program. You can reach Linda Plush through me.