Medical Definition of Aerospace medicine

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Reviewed on 12/21/2018

Aerospace medicine: The fields of medicine concerned with the maintenance of health, safety, and performance of those in aviation and space travel. Aerospace medicine is the sum of aviation medicine and space medicine -- health in flight both inside and outside the Earth's atmosphere.

Aviation medicine is the study of the biological and psychological effects of aviation. Medically significant aspects of aviation travel include exposure to changing temperatures, large inertial forces, oxygen deprivation, and air sickness, as well as pilot fatigue. Aviation medicine is concerned, for instance, with the spread of disease by air travel and the adverse effects of noise and air pollution.

Space medicine is the study of the biological and psychological effects of space travel. Medically significant aspects of space travel include weightlessness, strong inertial forces during liftoff and reentry, radiation exposure, absence of the day and night, and existence in a closed environment. Space medicine is concerned, for instance, with osteoporosis caused by weightlessness and the resultant increased risk of fractures.

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Reviewed on 12/21/2018