Telemedicine, ie 'the delivery of healthcare and sharing of medical knowledge using telecommunication systems' has penetrated every field of medicine. As a result, tele-echocardiography, the study of the heart via telemedicine started expanding. Ironically, space became the next frontier for mankind's new innovations and technology pursuit. However, the microgravity environment of space is known to be challenging to astronauts hearts. As such, new tele-echocardiography techniques have evolved. The main aim was to research a system that can be operated by a layperson but still be able to provide high yield diagnostic information in real time to specialists on earth. This spin-off space technology is recognized to have a positive impact, especially in developing countries with vast terrain. It is now utilized in hospitals and other terrestial locations where patients in remote regions can have their hearts analysed and data relayed to specialists in bigger centres for interpretation and further management.
The Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) Angkasawan (Astronaut) Programme achieved its mission to send the first Malaysian astronaut Sheikh Muszaphar Shukur by Soyuz TM11 to the International Space Ship (ISS) on 10 October 2007. He returned to earth, landing safely on 21 October 2007. Such a momentous event has carved out yet another milestone in the country’s
history and development of a civilisation based on science and technology for its people. This mission has provided the educational sector with an opportunity to initiate a curriculum innovation. Together with the Ministry of Education (MOE), the initiative was undertaken to improve techniques of teaching and learning (TL) and to broaden its scope to include space science and technology.
Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) serves buoyancy. The buoyancy thought to play crucial role in many aspects of the central nervous system (CNS). Weightlessness is produced mainly by the CSF. This manuscript is purposely made to discuss its significance which thought contributing towards an ideal environment for the CNS to develop and function normally. The idea of microgravity environment for the CNS is supported not only by the weightlessness concept of the brain, but also the noted anatomical position of the CNS. The CNS is positioned in bowing position (at main cephalic flexure) which is nearly similar to an astronaut in a microgravity chamber, fetus in the amniotic fluid at early gestation, and animals and plants in the ocean or on the land. Therefore, this microgravity position can bring us closer to the concept of origin. The hypothesis on 'the origin' based on the microgravity were explored and their similarities were identified including the brainwaves and soul. Subsequently a review on soul was made. Interestingly, an idea from Leonardo da Vinci seems in agreement with the notion of seat of the soul at the greater limbic system which has a distinctive feature of "from God back to God".
Inflammation and endothelial dysfunction are key components in atherogenesis. Should the status of these pro-atherogenesis factors be enhanced during prolonged confined space travel, specific countermeasures need to be instituted to prevent these processes to ensure safe outcome for astronauts during space expeditions. Six crew members were exposed to prolonged, confined isolation for 520 days. Standard exercise and diet regime were instituted throughout isolation phase. Age and gender-matched healthy, free living controls were recruited in parallel. Serial serum and whole blood were analysed for biomarkers of inflammation (hsCRP and IL-6) and endothelial activation (sICAM-1, sVCAM-1 and E-selectin). Flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) of the artery was performed following the standard protocols set by the International Brachial Artery Reactivity Task Force by trained personnel. There was decreased sVCAM-1 concentration in crew members compared to baseline. However, there was significant decrease in percentage dilatation from baseline in FMD of the brachial artery in the crew members. Percent change increment was observed in hsCRP while percent change reduction was seen in sVCAM-1. The enhanced inflammation and reduced endothelial function could possibly be attributed to the rigorous exercise instituted throughout the confinement period. Furthermore, possible haemoconcentration as a result of psychosocial stress and/ or exercise-induced physiological response could further explain elevations in hsCRP, and unlikely pathological. Furthermore, endothelial activation was attenuated during isolation, suggesting that the diet and exercise program instated throughout the period improved endothelial function.