Medical Technologies International, NASA Johnson Space Center Partner on Cardiovascular Testing for Astronauts


August 11, 2009

August 11, 2009 – Medical Technologies International Inc. (MTI) said yesterday it is partnering with the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) to help clarify and monitor the cardiovascular health of the center’s astronauts and trainees using MTI’s ArterioVision test.

The ArterioVision carotid intima-media thickness (CIMT) test uses ultrasound technology to measure the thickness of the first two layers of the carotid artery wall. The FDA-cleared procedure determines whether there has been a build-up of fats causing the wall to thicken. Wall thickening is the earliest noninvasive indicator of atherosclerosis – the underlying cause of heart attack and stroke. The test provides the “age” of a patient’s arteries based on CIMT, compared to one’s chronological age. ArterioVision is quick and painless, and does not expose patients to radiation.

The ArterioVision procedure was developed using the same imaging technology that NASA originally employed to detect the presence of ice on Mars. ArterioVision is an excellent example of NASA technology coming full circle. Scientists at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory worked with Medical Technologies International to take technology originally used in space, and adapt it for a medical application that will be used to reduce health risks and help save lives.

NASA will use ArterioVision at JSC to monitor the cardiovascular health of astronauts as they train for flight missions. JSC hopes to use the ArterioVision test as a preventive medicine screening tool for its employees, as part of an integrated wellness exam aimed at keeping employees healthy, and thereby reducing costs from lost workdays.

ArterioVision was developed by Medical Technologies International founder and Chairman/CEO Gary F. Thompson in partnership with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the California Institute of Technology, and the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. The scientists and engineers adapted technology that was originally created at JPL in 1966 to interpret images sent from space. That software, which was invented to process pictures from several missions, including the Voyagers and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, forms the foundation for the software used in the ArterioVision CIMT test. Thompson worked with the research team to transfer the technology from the laboratory to physicians’ offices throughout the country.

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