News | EP Lab | December 14, 2018

HHS and NASA Team Up to Explore Health on Earth and in Outer Space

New interagency agreement will strengthen collaborative research efforts into human health worldwide and in space

HHS and NASA Team Up to Explore Health on Earth and in Outer Space

Image courtesy of NASA

December 14, 2018 — The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently entered into an interagency agreement with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to coordinate scientific research efforts on healthcare. Eric D. Hargan, deputy HHS secretary, wrote the following column about the implications of the agreement:

The collaboration between NASA and HHS has so many exciting possibilities for understanding health issues on Earth.

My father was an Air Force veteran of the Korean War and he shared his fascination with planes, NASA and anything to do with space with me. One of my first memories was of watching a rerun with him of Neil Armstrong’s landing on the Moon.

Even though my career has kept me Earth-bound, dealing with health and human services at HHS, I’ve remained fascinated with space. I have no regrets, but, interestingly, my job at HHS occasionally gives me the opportunity to interact with space issues.

Recently, I had the privilege of signing on HHS’s behalf an interagency agreement with NASA, covering cooperation on scientific research that would benefit humanity on Earth and on individuals traveling to the Moon and beyond. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) already had its own agreement with NASA, but this new interagency agreement is an umbrella arrangement designed to cover the entire Department of Health and Human Services. NIH’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences Director Christopher P. Austin, M.D., is leading the collaborative effort, coordinating all the HHS agencies involved. The other agencies besides NIH include the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Administration for Community Living.

NIH and NASA have collaborated since the early 1960s. A letter of intent signed last year enables the two agencies to develop a framework for NIH-supported researchers at institutions around the country to gain access to the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory, as well as Earth-based NASA facilities for biomedical research. Research efforts will focus on improving human health on Earth and dealing with health risks that people might face during deep space travel. This collaboration will allow us to leverage existing projects and expertise for a potentially greater public health benefit.

NASA is interested in cardiac rhythm problems, inadequate nutrition and food systems, adverse cognitive or behavioral conditions, and the detection and treatment of unknown microbes. NASA and various HHS agencies also have mutual interests in exploring autonomous portable medical capabilities for remote locations and field medical care, long shelf life and manufacturing of pharmaceuticals, and improved tools to deal with isolation and confinement.

Our agencies will sign individual agreements for each new research project. BARDA, for example is collaborating on a project to determine risks associated with space radiation.

This collaboration between NASA and HHS has so many exciting possibilities for understanding health issues on Earth and helping to make deep space travel a reality. As a young boy, I could never have imagined that I would play a small part to support scientists in expanding the boundaries of human health — here on Earth and in space.

For more information: www.hhs.gov, www.nasa.gov

Related Content

A new infection risk scoring system has been developed based on data from the large PADIT Trial.[1] The new scoring system was presented as a follow up to that study during a late-breaking session at Heart Rhythm 2019, the Heart Rhythm Society's 40th Annual Scientific Sessions.

Figure 1: The PADIT infection risk score ranging from 0 to 14 points classified patients into three risk groups, low (0-4), intermediate (5-6) and high (≥7). The risk groups had rates of hospitalization for infection of 0.51%, 1.42% and 3.41%, respectively 

News | EP Lab | May 15, 2019
May 15, 2019 — A new infection risk scoring system has been developed based on data from the large PADIT Trial.[1] Th
Studies Find Race and Gender Disparities in Implantable Heart Devices
News | EP Lab | May 15, 2019
May 15, 2019 - Three new studies show that patients who are medically indicated for implantable heart devices, includ
Heart Rhythm 2019 study shows travelers with common cardiac devices can pass through without restrictions or precautions. HRS 2019, #HRS #HRS19

A new study shows travelers with common cardiac devices can pass through airport body scanners without restrictions or precautions.

News | EP Lab | May 14, 2019
May 14, 2019 – Results from new research show that passengers with cardiac implantable electronic devices (CIEDs), su
News | EP Lab | May 13, 2019
May 13, 2019 – Results from a new survey are the first to report a large discrepancy in patient’s knowledge of their
Concerto CRT-D and Virtuoso ICD implantable cardiac devices are among several Medtronic electrophysiology devices included in a safety alert because of their lack of cybersecurity measures to avoid hacking, according to the FDA.

Concerto CRT-D and Virtuoso ICD implantable cardiac devices are among several Medtronic electrophysiology devices included in a safety alert because of their lack of cybersecurity measures to avoid hacking, according to the FDA.

Feature | EP Lab | March 22, 2019
March 22, 2019 — The U.S.
Medtronic Tyrx Envelope Significantly Reduces Major Infections in Cardiac Implantable Device Patients
News | EP Lab | March 20, 2019
Results from the landmark Worldwide Randomized Antibiotic Envelope Infection Prevention Trial (WRAP-IT) demonstrated...
Videos | EP Lab | February 27, 2019
This is a virtual heart with the same electrophysiology characteristics as the real patient being developed to help o
Seth Worley, M.D., senior consultant, section of cardiac electrophysiology, MedStar Heart and Vascular Institute, developed tools and techniques to optimize transvenous left ventricular (LV) lead implantation, including the I-CRT approach. Here he holds the tools that he personally developed for left ventricular lead implantation to treat heart failure. Photo courtesy of MedStar Heart and Vascular Institute at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.

Seth Worley, M.D., senior consultant, section of cardiac electrophysiology, MedStar Heart and Vascular Institute, developed tools and techniques to optimize transvenous left ventricular (LV) lead implantation, including the I-CRT approach. Here he holds the tools that he personally developed for left ventricular lead implantation to treat heart failure. Photo courtesy of MedStar Heart and Vascular Institute at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.

Feature | EP Lab | January 21, 2019 | Matthew S. McKillop, M.D., FACC, FHRS, and Seth J. Worley, M.D.
Interventional...
An implanted ICD showing its three venous leads. These multiple CRT leads can cause issues when they need to be replaced and are abandoned with new leads put over them in the SVC, which may require lead extraction.

An implanted ICD showing its three leads in the venous system. 

Feature | EP Lab | January 13, 2019 | Dave Fornell, Editor
To extract or abandon broken or infected implantable, venous...
Overlay Init