Wouldn't you like to fly in the around-the-world telemedicine balloon?

Denver 17 September 1998 At the end of December, Dave Liniger, Bob Martin and John Wallington will make a new attempt to fly around the world in a balloon. Physicians and researchers of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center (UCHSC) will participate in the mission, sponsored by RE/MAX International, to offer medical advice and monitoring by means of advanced telemedicine communications. The Technology Integrations company for Medical Applications will be responsible for the systems implementation of medical devices whereas AT&T will provide global technical communications support. Similar equipment has been used during the telemedicine guided Everest Extreme Expedition, earlier this year in May.

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At the end of December, Dave Liniger, Bob Martin and John Wallington will make a new attempt to fly around the world in a balloon. Physicians and researchers of the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center (UCHSC) will participate in the mission, sponsored by RE/MAX International, to offer medical advice and monitoring by means of advanced telemedicine communications. The Technology Integrations company for Medical Applications will be responsible for the systems implementation of medical devices whereas AT&T will provide global technical communications support. Similar equipment has been used during the telemedicine guided Everest Extreme Expedition, earlier this year in May.

The balloon crew, called Team RE/MAX, will try to establish a number of manned ballooning altitude records during the flight, as to collect valuable information on high-altitude flying. The data will be used by the medical experts to analyse the effects, that high altitude exercises on the physical human condition. The pilots count on reaching heights between 80.000 to 130.000 feet. The biophysical results will be made public via the Internet to give both children and adults a unique educational experience in the areas of physiology and medicine.

Professor of cardiology, John D. Carroll, who is equally medical director of the Telehealth and Distance Education Programme at the UCHSC, believes the balloon expedition will demonstrate the huge potential of the promising marriage between telecommunications and health care for the upcoming 21st century. The medical research team will be co-ordinated by Dr. Eugene Wolfel, a renowned expert with regard to physiological high-altitude effects at Pike's Peak laboratory. The UCHSC specialists' team will perform a broad range of scientific studies while the pilot crew is up in the air.

Director of the University Hospital's Emergency Department, Ben Honigman, will function as head of the medical team. Before the flight, all three pilots will be submitted to a thorough health examination by the medical advisory team, which will stay available for consultation throughout the expedition. During the mission, telemedical "housecalls" will be organized between the crew and physicians, hosted at Colorado University Hospital at regular intervals and whenever the flight situation calls for it.

The vital signs and general health condition of the crew will permanently be monitored in the telemedicine studios, which already are in use at UCHSC. The Team RE/MAX will be closely followed and accurately tracked on their mission by means of AT&T's leading-edge communications equipment, which has paid some excellent services in the past Everest expedition as well as in a recent telesurgery experiment. You can follow the around-the-world manned balloon attempt at the Health Sciences Center Web site of the Colorado University.


Leslie Versweyveld

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