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November 28, 1980

Old human centrifuge: forebear of new scanner

JAMA. 1980;244(21):2395-2396. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03310210005002

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The dynamic spatial reconstructor is in a room that once housed one of the most famous human centrifuges used for medical research.

Many Mayo Clinic officials see a direct link between the centrifuge, which went into operation in 1942, and the reconstructor that now has displaced it. For them, the link is personified by Earl H. Wood, MD, PhD.

Wood joined Mayo 38 years ago as a research assistant and became a member of a then-secret aeromedical unit formed by the clinic during World War II to study physiological problems confronting military fliers. This particularly referred to the fact that pilots of fighter airplanes and dive bombers would "black out" from inertial forces encountered during acceleration, sharp turns at high speeds, or recovery from steep dives.

Using the 10 m-long centrifuge to simulate these airplane maneuvers while subjects were inside, Mayo investigators developed, among other things, the gravity (G) suit