What is Space Medicine?
Space medicine is an area in aerospace medicine that focuses on the medical care of astronauts and spaceflight participants. However, the practice of aerospace medicine goes beyond clinical care for the crew. Though only a small number of humans have experienced outer space, the impact of the space environment on their physiology is helping to expand scientific knowledge for the general population.
Medical Research and Its Impact on Earth
Scientists at specific research institutions are able to collect genetic samples from astronauts before, during, and after spaceflight and use genomic sequencing to analyze how different genes react in the space environment. Scientists are also looking at pharmacogenomics — how a person’s genes influence how they respond to medications — to optimize effective pharmaceutical disease management during space travel. It is thought that what scientists learn from delivering healthcare to astronauts during spaceflight under the most extreme conditions may help further develop the field of personalized medicine.
For the future, in the Decade of the Kidney™, AAKP is encouraging even greater contributions from every sector of our society and every discipline where kidney patients will witness the accelerating evolution away from the tired status quo of brick and mortar dialysis as we know it and toward a future defined by patient choice; targeted therapies that inhibit kidney disease and prevent kidney failure; greater access to donated organs and new devices including artificial wearable and implantable kidneys, xenotransplantation; and continued support of space medicine initiatives to support the understanding and treatments of kidney diseases...that is AAKP Intergalactic™!
- Benefits of space medicine research for healthcare on Earth, Cureus, Inc. (May 2023)
- Kidney chips in space will help medicine on Earth, University of Washington School of Pharmacy and University of Washington Medicine (April 2019)
- The kidney in space, International Urology and Nephrology (Dec. 2012)