Acta Astronaut. 1997 Aug-Nov; 41(4-10): 531-6.
On the contribution of space medicine in the public health care.
Institute of Bio-Medical Problems, Moscow.
With the beginning of space era, a new branch of medicine has arisen and has been developing along with human exploration of outer space. And even though space medicine mainly faces the same problems as traditional medicine--cosmonauts health care and their high efficiency--this branch, has its own features, associated with the unusual factors of space flight, of which weightlessness is the major one. During the development of manned cosmonautics (duration of a human stay in space has reached already 438 days), methods of cosmonauts medical support and monitoring of their condition have been developed, knowledge of human possibilities and methods of process of organism adaptation to various and frequently severe conditions of external environment have increased. All this led to the fact that nowadays space medicine can become useful for improvement of human health care not only in space but also on the Earth. Moreover, the problem of implementation of cosmonautics achievements, and in particular of space medicine, in practice of public health care presents one of the most important issues concerning human health care. It is also connected with public opinion which is more and more concerned about the efficiency of significant expenses on space activities, especially lately. People often are set by the questions: what has space given, what fruits has space research provided to mankind, which results of this research can be used on the Earth already today for improvement of their life, for discussion of many difficult earthly problems? In terms of using cosmonautics possibilities, its achievements for health care and treatment, it is possible to define a few branches, in which purposeful studies are carried out.