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RARE BRANCHES OF MEDICINE THAT DESERVE YOUR ATTENTION!




Hey everyone! For this week's blog I’d like to bring to your notice certain branches of medicine that you probably didn’t hear of before and are really interesting and important to what they contribute towards.


As you’ll find out there are certain professions that require the knowledge of medicinal science and it’s applications on a day to day basis for safety or as enhancing agents.



1. Aerospace/Aviation medicine:


Aerospace medicine, specialized branch of medical science concerned with those medical problems encountered in human flight in the atmosphere (aviation medicine) and beyond the atmosphere (space medicine).

The primary goal of this field of study is to advance human safety and performance while they are subjected to the hazards of aerospace flight, including low air pressure, radiation, noise, vibrations, oxygen deprivation, and severe acceleration and deceleration forces. The absence of the Earth's day-and-night cycle, weightlessness, motion sickness, pilot fatigue, pain from hunger or tiredness, and psychological disorders brought on by confinement and isolation are additional risks of space travel.


Aerospace medicine is concerned with the clinical treatment, investigative work, and operational support of the health, safety, and performance of the crew and passengers of aircraft and spacecraft, as well as the support staff involved in the operation of such vehicles.


A medical specialist in occupational and preventative medicine for pilots, astronauts, and other persons who work primarily in aviation and aeronautics is known as an aerospace medicine physician.


MD Aerospace Medicine or Doctor of Medicine in Aerospace Medicine, also known as MD in Aerospace Medicine is a Postgraduate level course for doctors in India that is done by them after completion of their MBBS. The duration of this postgraduate course is 3 years, and it focuses on the study of various concepts related to the field of Aerospace Medicine such as stresses of aerospace flight, such as extreme temperatures, low atmospheric pressure, radiation, noise, vibrations, oxygen deprivation, and the strong forces of acceleration and deceleration.



2. Hyperbaric medicine:


Hyperbaric medicine is also referred to as hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Hyperbaric medicine is the medical use of oxygen at a higher pressure level than our atmosphere.


A medical specialist in occupational and preventative medicine for pilots, astronauts, and other persons who work primarily in aviation and aeronautics is known as an aerospace medicine physician.



Other conditions treated with hyperbaric oxygen therapy include:



  • Serious infections.

  • Bubbles of air in blood vessels.

  • Severe anemia.

  • Brain abscess.

  • gas embolism.

  • Burns

  • Carbon monoxide poisoning.

  • Crushing injury.

  • Deafness, sudden.

  • Decompression sickness.

  • Gangrene.

  • Infection of skin or bone that causes tissue death.

  • Nonhealing wounds, such as a diabetic foot ulcer.

  • Radiation injury.

  • Skin graft or skin flap at risk of tissue death.

  • Traumatic brain injury.

  • Vision loss, sudden and painless.


In a hyperbaric oxygen therapy chamber, the air pressure is increased 2 to 3 times higher than normal air pressure. Under these conditions, your lungs can gather much more oxygen than would be possible breathing pure oxygen at normal air pressure.


This extra oxygen helps fight bacteria. It also triggers the release of substances called growth factors and stem cells, which promote healing.

Wounds that may not heal because of diabetes or radiation injury.

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is used to treat several medical conditions. And medical institutions use it in different ways.



One can pursue hyperbaric medicine after completion of their MBBS. The duration of this course is 4-12 months



3. Sleep medicine/somnology:


Somnology is the study of biorhythms, including how sleep stage cycles and processes related to homeostasis interact. A somnologist is a "sleep doctor" who focuses on sleep disorders and abnormalities. Sleep supports intracellular growth and repair, enhances mental clarity, refuels energy reserves, and helps people retain information, according to numerous studies.


These sleep disorders can include:

  • insomnia (difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep)



  • sleep apnea and snoring (stopping breathing during sleep)

  • parasomnias (for example, sleepwalking)

  • sleep motion disorders (like restless legs syndrome, the urge to move one’s legs while trying to fall asleep)

  • a number of other related sleep conditions


Almost every function in the body, including the nervous and cardiovascular systems, are impacted by sleep. Sleep centres or sleep clinics are where doctors who specialise in sleep medicine work. The administration of sleep studies and other testing for the diagnosis and treatment of sleep problems is only permitted by licenced sleep technologists.



4. Culinary medicine:


The art of eating and cooking is combined with the science of medicine in the emerging, evidence-based field of culinary medicine. It strives to support individuals in making wise choices regarding their access to and consumption of high-quality foods that support illness prevention, treatment, and wellbeing restoration.


Nutrition, dietetics, integrative, preventative, and internal medicine are not related to culinary medicine. It doesn't adhere to any particular food philosophy and doesn't disapprove of taking prescription drugs. It is not just about good meal preparation, flavours, or scents, nor is it just about the food matrices that contain micronutrients.


The goal of culinary medicine is to treat patients by modifying their diet and beverage intake. A special focus is placed on the physiological effects of food as well as the sociocultural and enjoyable aspects of eating and cooking. The goal of culinary medicine is to equip the patient with the knowledge and skills necessary to safely, successfully, and cheerfully take care of themselves using food and drink as a primary care strategy.



5. Nuclear medicine:


Radioactive isotopes are used in the diagnosis and treatment of disease in the field of medicine known as nuclear medicine. It provides early disease detection and real-time monitoring of therapy responses by allowing doctors to precisely and noninvasively identify specific molecular activity within bodily tissues and organs.



Since Enrico Fermi discovered in 1935 that stable elements might be rendered radioactive by being bombarded with neutrons, nuclear medicine has advanced significantly. These radioisotopes release radiation in the form of gamma and other rays to release surplus energy because their nuclei are unstable.



6. Palliative medicine:


A serious condition like cancer or heart failure requires specialised medical care called palliative care. By concentrating on the physical and mental health of the patients, it aims to improve the quality of life for both the patients and their family.


Palliative care is best given shortly after a person is diagnosed and can be beneficial at any stage of their disease. Cancer, dementia, Parkinson's disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart failure, and many more conditions can all benefit.


Palliative care is an area of medicine which aims to prevent and relieve suffering through the early identification, correct assessment and treatment of pain and other problems, whether physical, psychosocial or spiritual. It improves the quality of life of patients (adults and children) who are facing problems associated with life-threatening illness.


Addressing suffering involves taking care of issues beyond physical symptoms. Palliative care uses a team approach to support patients and their caregivers. This includes addressing practical needs and providing bereavement counselling. It offers a support system to help patients live as actively as possible until death.



7. Physiatry/physical medicine:





Physiatrists, often known as physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R) doctors, treat a wide range of illnesses that affect the brain, spinal cord, neurons, bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, and tendons.


A holistic, multifaceted approach to care is used in physiatry, with a particular emphasis on how a patient's health condition affects every aspect of their life, including their role at work, at home, and in daily activities. Physical therapy and pain management are used in physiatry to help patients avoid surgery. For people who have a handicap, chronic pain, or physical limitations, physiatry aims to maximize physical functioning, significantly reduce or eliminate discomfort, develop independence, and improve quality of life.

Physiatrists diagnose and treat a variety of patients with many types of disorders such as:

  • Back pain, Neck pain, Strokes, Brain injuries

  • Neuromuscular disorders, Sports injuries

  • Spinal cord injuries

  • Arthritis

  • Carpal tunnel

  • Herniated disc

  • Pinched nerve in the neck or back

  • Sciatica

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Work injuries

  • Amputees

  • Parkinson's disease

  • Multiple sclerosis

  • Guillain-Barre syndrome

  • Cancer rehabilitation

  • Pelvic floor disorders


 

So this was all about the rare medicinal branches, I hope it was as informative to you as it was to me. For those who all when more about these courses and how to pursue then, comment below!




Further reading:


  1. https://www.britannica.com/science/aerospace-medicine

  2. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/treatment-tests-and-therapies/hyperbaric-oxygen-therapy

  3. https://medicaldialogues.in/medical-courses/doctor-of-medicine-md-aerospace-medicine-admission-medical-colleges-eligibility-criteria-fee-details-100295

  4. https://sweetsleepstudio.com/what-is-a-sleep-medicine-specialist-doctor-and-when-do-i-get-a-sleep-medicine-consultation/

  5. https://medicaldialogues.in/medical-courses/doctor-of-medicine-md-aerospace-medicine-admission-medical-colleges-eligibility-criteria-fee-details-100295?infinitescroll=1

  6. https://www.britannica.com/topic/forensic-medicine

  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4739343/

  8. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/palliative-care

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