Health, Medicine, & Biotechnology

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.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical

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Wet Waste Drying Bag

Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California This invention facilitates collection, storage, concentration, and drying of liquid or mixed liquid/solid waste material. The invention may serve as a portable toilet or may be used to dry biological specimens or concentrate water samples for analysis. It can replace diapers, special plastic bags, and airflow waste disposal systems used in space missions. The resulting products are clean, but not potable, water and dried, compacted, bagged material that may be human waste or other matter. The bag simplifies collection and reduces disposal cost.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical

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Combinatorial Multidomain Mesoporous Chips for Fractionation of Biomolecules

The chips can operate with extraordinary rapidity without sample pre-processing. Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas A promising strategy of early diagnosis is the detection of biological signatures (molecular biomarkers) from readily available body fluids, such as blood. However, the onset of most human diseases cannot be univocally identified on the basis of a single biomarker. Considerable attention has been devoted to the development of proteomic methods for the quantitative and simultaneous detection and identification of “signature profiles” constituted by multiple protein and peptide biomarkers using mass spectrometry (MS). A critical aspect of the development of MS-based proteomics and peptidomics is the extraordinarily broad assortment of molecular species in blood, with concentrations ranging over more than ten orders of magnitude. This dynamic complexity limits the detection of disease-related peptides present in trace amounts within a large background of very abundant and non-relevant proteins.

Posted in: Briefs, Medical

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Intranasal Scopolamine — INSCOP

This drug, in intranasal form, is an effective treatment for motion sickness. Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas Space motion sickness (SMS) commonly experienced by astronauts during a space mission often requires treatment with medication. However, exposure to a microgravity environment results in a myriad of physiological changes that alter bioavailability. In particular, studies indicate that the bioavailability of oral scopolamine (SCOP) is decreased during spaceflight. Although altered gastrointestinal function, including delayed gastric emptying, appears to contribute to decreased bioavailability of oral medications, other factors typical of spaceflight may influence the pharmacokinetics of medications administered via a variety of other non-parenteral routes.

Posted in: Briefs, Bio-Medical, Medical

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Microbial Isolates from Research Activities as a Biological Resource

A collection of 1,530 individual isolates is used to evaluate the potential hazard of introducing sterilization-resistant microorganisms onto planetary spacecraft. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California International treaty requires spacecraft landing on planetary surfaces that may have water present, or may have supported life in the past, to adhere to strict guidelines governing the microbial contaminants that are incidentally present in, and on, spacecraft hardware introduced to those environments. Precautions to prevent microbial contamination of flight hardware are taken throughout assembly, test, and launch operations to minimize transferring biological contamination to the planet. Effectiveness of these precautions is assessed by conducting bioassays of spacecraft surfaces and assembly areas to estimate the number of microorganisms present. Microorganisms discovered are preserved as a living document and compendium for the mission. The organisms that are of greatest concern are those that are highly resistant to desiccation and spacecraft sterilization by dry heat.

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