NASA medical expert to meet hospital's pioneering clinicians

DrSaralynMarkOne of the world’s leading space doctors is to visit Southampton’s teaching hospitals on Friday (29 July) to find out more about the city’s cutting-edge clinical research.

Dr Saralyn Mark, the first senior medical adviser on women’s health at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), will meet some of Southampton General Hospital’s lead clinical researchers.

During her visit, Dr Mark will talk to the team behind a revolutionary brain pressure test now used worldwide and take in the work of other specialties within Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust involved with space medicine, including the nutrition and cardiovascular departments.

Developed by consultant clinical scientist Dr Robert Marchbanks, the cerebral and cochlear fluid pressure analyser measures fluid on the brain via headphones linked to a computer – removing the need for a surgical implant or lumbar puncture.

The test, which can help to diagnose neurological disorders and head injury complications, has been adopted by NASA following concerns about visual problems and brain pressure levels in astronauts.

As part of her research, Dr Mark has studied the impact of gender in space and response differences among men and women to ensure astronauts enter space in the safest conditions.

“We are extremely honoured to welcome Dr Mark to Southampton and look forward to discussing with her the success of our work here, but also the future of space science, exploration and the progression of medical links,” said Dr Marchbanks.

Following a tour of the hospital, Dr Mark will present briefly on her texts The Impact of Sex in Space and Stellar Medicine: A Journey through the Universe of Women's Health.

She added: "It is an honour to meet Dr Marchbanks and his colleagues at Southampton University Hospitals NHS Trust the University of Southampton and have the opportunity to share information on the impact of gender on research and healthcare, especially as it relates to space travel.

“As we enter a new age of space exploration, innovative approaches to caring for our astronauts will be essential to ensure success of missions while fostering the translation of these findings to improve healthcare for those on earth. Partnerships across the globe with academic centres such as Southampton will be critical to this progress."

Posted on Wednesday 27 July 2011