Health, Medicine, & Biotechnology

Computer-Aided Design Tools to Support Human Factors Design Teams

Marshall Space Flight Center, Alabama The purpose of this work was to develop a database of human model behavior primitives, which are basic scripts that can be chained together to create simulations of humans performing certain tasks. This is unique in that the human model behaviors were collected using motion capture technology and then incorporated into virtual simulation software. Typically, human model behaviors are created based on the subjective observations of the analyst rather than by using realistic motion data. Limitations of this approach include less reliable human models and a more time-consuming process for creating the human model in the virtual environment.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical

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Advanced-Capabilities Medical Suction Device

This technology presents a means to cleanly contain bodily fluids in environments ranging from microgravity to Earth gravity with no release of infectious agents. John H. Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio NASA has long recognized the difficulty in providing emergency medical care to astronauts in space. Many aspects of space travel make medical care inherently difficult, and sufficient storage space for medical equipment severely limits the ability to carry a full complement of diagnostic and therapeutic equipment onboard. The Microgravity Compatible Medical Suction Device (MCMSD) enables aspiration and containment of bodily fluids and vomitus, while preventing the transmission of infectious agents.

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Use of Osteoclast-Inhibiting Compounds to Prevent Radiation-Induced Bone Loss

Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas This technology features a method for preventing or treating radiation-associated loss of bone mass, bone density, or bone strength in a subject. This technology involves administering to the subject an amount of anti-resorptive or osteoclast-inhibiting compound sufficient to prevent or mitigate loss of bone mass, density, or strength caused by radiation-associated increases in the number or activity of osteoclasts.

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Polymerase Chain Reaction Preparation Kit and Self-Enclosed, Pipette-Free DNA/RNA Isolation Device

Other applications include situations involving the military and in cases where one has to perform PCR analysis in the field. Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas The ability to monitor and detect microorganism contamination/infection is important for long space voyages, in order to maintain a clean environment not only for the health of the astronauts, but also for electronics and structural materials. Technologies based upon the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method have proven to be faster and more sensitive than traditional methods in diagnosis of microorganisms. The real-time PCR technique has been used on the ground to detect microorganisms in the samples collected on the International Space Station (ISS). However, the ability of using PCR to detect infectious agents rapidly and specifically in space is currently unavailable. The major technological blockade to the use of PCR in space is the lack of a hazard-free and microgravity compatible hardware for RNA/DNA isolation.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Medical

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Hydrostatic Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment Chamber

This system allows treatment of patients in remote locations. Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas A hyperbaric chamber has been designed to achieve the goals of maximizing safety, minimizing complexity, and minimizing cost of hyperbaric chamber therapy. This design minimizes the volume of compressed gas in the chamber, and eliminates the need for complex gas mixing, carbon dioxide scrubbing, thermal management, and fire suppression systems. The simple pressurization system affords safe operation by minimally trained personnel. It requires only clean water and small volumes of compressed oxygen, and uses no electrical power. These features allow the chamber to be used in remote, undeveloped locations where hyperbaric oxygen therapy is currently not feasible.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Medical

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Reagent and Method of Using a Microfluidic Cytometer for Leukocyte Differential Count

The requirement for dilution is completely eliminated by specifically staining leukocytes. Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas Leukocytes respond to toxic, infectious, and inflammatory processes to defend tissues and eliminate disease process or toxic challenge. Accurate and prompt counting and differentiation of leukocytes is critical for diagnoses of infection, leukemia, or allergy; monitoring bone marrow function; or monitoring the body’s response to various treatments. White blood cell (WBC), or leukocyte, differential count is a clinical analysis that numerates the total number of leukocytes in per volume blood, and classifies leukocytes into different types, such as lymphocytes, monocytes, neutrophils, eosinophils, and basophils.

Posted in: Briefs, TSP, Medical

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Intravehicular Tissue Equivalent Proportional Counter (TEPC) Flight Software

TEPC is used to make operational radiation protection decisions. Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas The ISS (International Space Station) Medical Operations Requirements Document (MORD) establishes the medical support requirements for ionizing radiation exposure, including common dose limits, radiation monitoring, recordkeeping, and management of radiation exposure through As Low As Reasonably Achievable (ALARA) practices through all mission phases. The dynamic, complex, and unique nature of the radiation environment in low Earth orbit is such that radiation health and protection requirements rely upon analytical modeling and continuous measurements of the onboard environment, as well as personal dosimetry that includes analytical assessments of passive dosimeters worn at all times by each crewmember. External radiation detection instruments are necessary to provide near-real-time information about the dynamic radiation environment experienced by crewmembers during EVA (extravehicular activity). Active radiation area monitoring on ISS is necessary to provide continuous information to ground controllers and to the crewmembers for the purpose of maintaining crew exposures below limits and in accordance with ALARA practices.

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