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April 18, 1990

Survival in Space: Medical Problems of Manned Spaceflight

Author Affiliations

Sun Valley, Calif

Sun Valley, Calif

JAMA. 1990;263(15):2116. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440150134042

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A few days after reading Survival in Space, I contemplated what my appearance would be if I had spent some time in space. It never had occurred to me before that not only would a degree of fluid loss and dehydration be a problem, but, in addition, the shift of fluid from the lower extremities to the upper torso and head would cause edema of the face and neck and marked distension of the jugular veins. I finally understood the reason astronauts use decongestants—to relieve the nasal stuffiness associated with the fluid shift that takes place under conditions of microgravity and not necessarily for respiratory infections.

Dr Harding involves the reader in a logical sequence of steps beginning with an introduction that describes the nature of space and human flight programs and extending through what can be anticipated in the future. He does this skillfully, respecting that the book may