The future of medicine is happening now

February 16, 2013 12:15:37 AM PST
An ingestible pill thermometer was developed for astronauts and is now helping make sure athletes, troops, and firefighters don't die from heat exhaustion.

A heart pump inspired by rocket engines keeps patients waiting for heart transplants alive. Even purified water systems designed for the space shuttle are making their way into our dentist's office and there's more to come from the final frontier.

Orthopedic Surgeon Doctor Douglas Chang works with astronauts. Chang said, "About 85 percent have significant back pain."

In zero gravity, they grow an average of two inches when the curvature of their spines straightens out.

Chang said, "They have an increased incidence of disc herniations."

Chang is researching why discs seem to be getting weaker in space. Figuring out why could help keep discs here on earth, from hurting.

Astronauts could also be key in helping stop the effects of osteoporosis. Studies show they lose two percent of their bone mass for every month spent in zero gravity.

Researchers are working on ways to stop the progression in space, which could stop the progression on earth.


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