Dr. Rick Scheuring, NASA Flight Surgeon, Presents at National Jewish Health

In front of a packed auditorium at National Jewish Health, Dr. Rick Scheuring, NASA Flight Surgeon and Team Lead for Musculoskeletal, Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation, presented his work on treating US Astronauts and the impact of micro-gravity on musculoskeletal injuries.

A major source of astronauts’ musculoskeletal injuries arises from the space suit design. NASA engineers are focused on using the $12 million cost to keep the suits’ inhabitants alive; therefore, ergonomics are sacrificed.

Two design features seem to be the biggest cause of musculoskeletal injuries: the limited range of motion in the arms and the awkward route of entry.

“GigaPica.” GigaPica : NASA’s Giant Pool: The Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 June 2017.
The prevalence of musculoskeletal injuries highlights the importance for rigorous pre- and post-flight preparation and exercise programs. Prior to flight missions, astronauts endure an intense program to prepare for space flight, which includes training in NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Lab and the infamous Vomit Comet.

Afterwards, Dr. Scheuring and Arthroventions CMO, Dr. Richard Meehan aspirating and collecting synovial fluid from each other’s knees. They were preparing for a research study to analyze and identify cartilage health biomarkers in the synovial fluid between ISS Astronauts, Health Subjects, and Spinal Cord Injured Patients. The study is being funded by the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) and is a collaboration between NASA, Arthroventions, National Jewish Health, and Craig Hospital.

Arthroventions is donating KneeTapTM’s to be used as part of this study and in space on the ISS. The KneeTap was invented by Dr. Meehan and it increases the amount of fluid that can be aspirated from a joint.

Understanding how micro-gravity impacts cartilage health is critical to long-term space travel and developing solutions to maintain astronaut health.

@NASA @ISS_CASIS @NJHealth @CraigHospital