Broadcast 2769 Dr. Dorit Donoviel

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Guest:  Dr. Dorit Donoviel;  Topics: The VIIP problem & human factors issues for long duration spaceflight.  Please direct all comments and questions regarding specific Space Show programs & guest(s) to the Space Show blog which is part of archived program on our website,   Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See   

We welcomed back Dr. Dorit Donoviel to discuss the Vision Impairment and Intracranial Pressure problem (VIIP) impacting mostly men astronauts.  In addition, we discussed other human factor issues.  As you will hear throughout our nearly two hour program, Dr. Donoviel had much information to share with us. In fact, as the show was ending, she offered to discuss additional issues including a special space derived kidney stone treatment, a possible space derived glaucoma treatment and social/psychological issues facing long duration astronauts. 

We started our program with the VIIP discussion.  This was a comprehensive discussion which explained the issues of concern. Our guest stressed that there was much that was unknown about the problem including why men are impacted though some women astronauts do have some of the symptoms while not actually experiencing VIIP.  Our guest talked about pharmacology intervention, artificial gravity and its challenges, and a possible solution that she thinks may work though it has yet to be tested.  Dr. Donoviel spent some time going over the fluid shift issues and the possible idea that were we able to stand upright in space, the problem might be mitigated. 

Regarding artificial gravity, our guest suggested it might be a harder engineering job than most people think.  Listeners downplayed the engineering challenges that our guest mentioned saying they were largely mechanical problems and could be resolved.  There was also criticism of NASA for not pursuing the development of artificial gravity over the years instead of pharmacology and other mitigation strategies. 

Risk was also discussed.  We examined risk tolerance for both government astronauts and private sector astronauts.  Our guest said what we already know and that is that for government astronauts the risk decisions would likely be far more conservative than for private sector astronauts.  Dorit was asked about human factors possibly impacting space tourists differently than well trained astronauts.  She had much to say about this, some VG experiments and the use of pharmaceuticals in space for the spaceflight participants and would they work.  Don't miss this discussion.

Marshall called to discuss pharmaceuticals and the way drugs are metabolized in space.  Our guest talked about needed experiments to find out how drugs are metabolized and expelled from the body and through cells.  Doug sent in a note asking if artificial gravity would fix the VIIP problem and if one should consider pre-emptive cataract surgery to avoid the development of in space cataracts.  Our guest was not supportive of any pre-emptive surgery.  Don't miss what she had to say about this topic.  We also talked about surgery in space and blood loss issues in such surgery.

John from Ft. Worth called before the segment ended.  He talked about the lack of a gravity prescription and countermeasures.  He wanted to know if on the surface of Mars the VIIP problem would cease to exist because of gravity and our ability to stand upright.  Our guest also talked about what type of physical condition the crew would be in upon landing on Mars.  Don't miss this discussion.

In the second segment, Dr. Lurio called to advocate for artificial gravity and to lament that we had lost decades by not researching and developing it.  Both Dr. Lurio and our guest also talked radiation issues and GCRs.  Later in the discussion, centrifuge topics came up.

Next up was the subject of space behavior or psychological issues.  Dorit explained why these issues were so serious, what we know about them so far, the few experiments that have taken place and the possible analog sites that may prove helpful.  I mentioned a 2006 Space Show program with Dr. Vadim Rygalov of UND Space Studies who talked about these issues with the Soviet Union as Vadim was one of the ground crew charged with keeping the space crews together.  If you have not heard his Space Show interview on this topic, you can find the two hour program here:  If you decide to listen to this discussion, be sure to read the program summary on the website.

Tom from Seattle called to discuss the impact of the absence of flora, wind, breeze and other environmental factors.  Don't miss what our guest said about this as it was discussed.  They also talked about the VIIP issue plus the hyperoptical shift.  Dorit then talked about space medical research that benefits us on Earth.

Her first example of space research for use here on Earth was a special ultrasound kidney stone removing device doing trials at the University of Seattle in Washington.  She explained why this device was a breakthrough and how it would benefit astronauts as well as those of us on Earth that have a kidney stone problem.  She said the device was currently well along in clinical trials.

Her next example came about because of work being done to better understand the VIIP issue.  Here, she described a type of goggle that would adjust pressure on the eye for use in glaucoma treatment.  Dorit fully explained how the goggle would work for us both in space and here on Earth.  Dorit concluded by saying she was optimistic that human factors issues would be either resolved or significantly mitigated.  She also said the field could stand to receive significantly more funding for research.

Please post your comments/questions in the comments section of this archived show on TSS website.  You can reach Dr. Donoviel through me.






VIIP problem eye issues & long duration spaceflight

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30 Aug 2016 Dr. Dorit Donoviel
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