To the Editor.—The article entitled "Pulmonary
Function in Space" by Dr West and colleagues1
promised full coverage of this area of research. The authors stated, "A few
previous studies of lung function in microgravity were performed by means
of parabolic flights in high-performance aircraft." Because I am involved
in Soviet-Russian aerospace research, I was surprised by this statement. The
author's reference list contains no references to research from the Russian
space program. A MEDLINE search since 1970 for titles including lungs/respiration andspace/kosmos/immersion
and originating from the USSR or Russia or published in Russian yielded 65
relevant articles. I am not suggesting that the article by West et al is biased
without presentation of Russian research; the authors stated that they only
reviewed Spacelab experiments. However, the article has references to textbooks
from 1964 and 1968, as well as to numerous publications by West et al since
1972—all of which were published long before the Spacelab. There is
no doubt that valuable Spacelab experiments are based on the previous data.
However, both Russian space research and US space research are the keystone
of this experience.
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