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Book and Media Reviews
February 25, 2009

Principles of Clinical Medicine for Space Flight

JAMA. 2009;301(8):884-889. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.190

Almost 40 years have passed since Neil Armstrong took his “small step for man.” Michael Barratt and Sam Pool have now taken the subsequent giant leap for the field of space medicine. This text is intended primarily for aerospace clinicians but will be useful for all readers drawn to the confluence of space and medicine.

Aviation medicine has been poorly understood by persons outside the field since its first being recognized as a specialty by the American Medical Association in 1953. A decade later, both the Soviet Union and the United States had sent men into space, and the specialty was renamed aerospace medicine. In their Principles of Clinical Medicine for Space Flight, Barratt and Pool have launched a masterpiece. Articulating the wide array of competencies required in a specialty that overlaps both occupational and preventive medicine as well as primary and acute care, they and their contributors have added greatly to the understanding of space medicine. In this comprehensive yet imminently understandable work, they have combined their decades of aerospace experience to create a resource adequate for the physician preparing for a board review examination, yet readable enough for the pilot endeavoring to better understand the body's response to the environment or for the aerospace engineer seeking to unravel the complexities of the human-machine interface in aviation.