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Future Possibilities and Speculations about IPT
by Chris Duffield

Expedition and Space Medicine

        People in developing countries are not the only ones who do not have easy access to doctors and hospitals.  People on expeditions, stationed in remote places, or in space can develop medical needs that would be difficult to take care of.  

NASA image

        The IPT protocol is simple, direct, and fast-acting.  It requires no great physical skill, and uses a minimum of equipment and just small amounts of medications.  One person can easily perform IPT for another person.  And with proper guidance and a great deal of caution, one person can perform IPT on himself.   Thus an IPT kit could be an ideal addition to the medical supplies of any expedition or space mission.

        The rapid medical treatment of abdominal problems, which Dr. Perez Garcia 1 reported in the 1930s and 40s, should be of great interest to planners of long space voyages.  Mission planners have planned to include surgical instruments and medical supplies on Mars voyages for possible emergencies.  An IPT kit might be easy and safe to use for some conditions, perhaps resulting in faster astronaut recovery.  Similarly, supplies of other drugs could either be smaller, or last longer, through the potentiation effects of IPT.  (See Digestive pages.)

        If IPT had been known and recommended, physician Jerri Nielsen could have tried it for her suspected breast cancer at the South Pole in 1999.  She could have avoided chemotherapy side effects, and if her cancer had responded well to IPT during the three months she was stranded, she might have been able to avoid the prospect of surgery when she was rescued by plane.   I apologize that IPTQ was not ready for her then.  (See Breast Cancer page.)

        I have a hunch that IPT may be found helpful for treating altitude sickness or acute mountain sickness (AMS), especially when it develops into life-threatening cerebral and pulmonary edema.  First, there is anecdotal evidence that IPT by itself can help reduce heart-related edema, and there are many cases of IPT helping respiratory, circulatory, and CNS conditions.  Second, by increasing cell and membrane permeability, including in the brain and the lungs, IPT could improve delivery of antiinflammatories and other medications to these AMS-affected organs.

        I also have a hunch that IPT may turn out to be a good treatment for frostbite, by improving circulation and the growth of new blood vessels, and by increasing transport of nutrients and wastes.  There is some confirmation of this idea in reports of the US insulin study club of the 1930s, who used small amounts (typically 3 units) of directly injected insulin near the site of the frostbite.  IPT would offer a quicker and more system-wide way to directly apply the benefits of insulin plus additional medications.

        Since insulin increases cell membrane permeability, perhaps IPT could help transport of gases within the body, helping people recover from rapid decompression when returning from deep underwater dives.

        IPT could be an excellent treatment for dehydration and heatstroke.  There is nothing like insulin for making cell membranes and tissues more permeable, and for speeding absorption of fluids and electrolytes.

        Research may also show that IPT is useful for accelerated healing of inflamed, infected, or gangrenous wounds, for burns, and for fractures.   The US insulin study club of the 1930s found these effects for topical and locally injected slow insulin.  IPT may work faster and better, as it treats the whole system, and can deliver drugs to control inflammation and infection.



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