log in to manage your profile and account
- Create your account
- Receive up-to-date newsletters
- Set up text alerts
Published: Friday, October 13, 2017 @ 10:00 AM
EDITORS NOTE: This is the second part of a four-part series on the Aeromedical Consultation Service at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Part three will delve into how the ACS’ Neuropsychiatry branch keeps Air Force air crews in the fight. Part one is available at www.wpafb.af.mil/News/.
The Aeromedical Consultation Service at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base reviews more than 2,000 waiver recommendation requests for Air Force pilots, navigators and other air crew annually. A staff of approximately 80 Airmen at the ACS ensures aviators get back in the sky as soon as possible.
“You know, these guys just want to fly,” said Lt. Col. Eddie Davenport, ACS Internal Medicine chief cardiologist. “Even after potentially life-threatening cardiac disease, these aviators push to get back in the cockpit – no excuses, no balking at deployments. Our hopeful goal is to safely get them back flying.”
Internal Medicine staff do that by diagnosing a wide range of health issues in cardiology, pulmonology, endocrinology, gastrointestinal and others, and determining the risk of those issues to safety of flight for air crews. A team of four general internists, two cardiologists, one pulmonologist and five technicians review studies, such as echocardiograms, stress tests and holter monitors in dealing with everything from asthma, arthritis and obstructive sleep apnea to diabetes, coronary disease and cancer.
The ACS publishes waiver guides that let waiver authorities, generally major commands, make informed decisions on what medical conditions can and cannot be waived, but there are always times when things turn grey.
“In cases that are confusing or unusual, they’re very likely to ask our opinion,” said Maj. Kevin Alford, ACS Internal Medicine Branch deputy chief and staff internist.
That equates to about 700 annual case reviews with more than 150 in-person evaluations for the Internal Medicine branch. The bar to receiving a waiver recommendation from Internal Medicine is high.
“We have a 1 percent rule,” Davenport said. “If there’s over a 1 percent chance of them suddenly having incapacitation while they’re flying, we don’t let them fly.”
But ACS staff ensure aviators are given the best chance possible to receive a waiver recommendation through not only a very detailed review of their medical data but tests that may go above and beyond the norm.
“We’re very thorough,” said Lt. Col. Dara Regn, ACS Internal Medicine Branch chief and staff pulmonologist. “We do additional tests that they may not do in the civilian world just to make sure that we are being thorough because this is a tremendous investment. It costs over $5 million to train someone to fly a heavy [aircraft] and $3 million for a high-performance fighter. They’re a person and an investment, so we do everything we can to keep them healthy and keep them flying.”
Remarkably, more than 90 percent of cases reviewed ultimately receive a recommendation for waiver from the Internal Medicine branch, with the waiver authority making the final decision to return them to flight. It’s a number that’s been climbing over the years.
“We have a lot of examples of where, if you looked 10 years ago at what we were doing from a waiver standpoint, we were a lot more restrictive,” Alford said. “We’ve been able to move to a waiver policy that allows more aviators to get back to doing their job by finding ways to do that safely. Part of that is advances in medicine but part of that is the work of people here and at other organizations to find those safe ways to monitor and maintain our aviators in their positions.”
Some of the things ACS Internal Medicine allows are unheard of in other nations.
“Conditions like bicuspid aortic valve or mitral valve prolapse, a lot of other countries in the world do not let those folks fly, which is largely based on expert opinion, but we do,” Davenport said. “The reason we do is because we used published data, as well as our own, to support their safety and then we watch them very closely. We get an echocardiogram or [some other] testing every year just to make sure they’re OK. If anything changes, then we take care of it before anything happens.”
This intense dedication to aviators is often appreciated by the waiver authorities.
“ACS is very important to Air Force Materiel Command,” said Daniel J. Huber, AFMC Aerospace Medicine Programs and Standards manager, who’s responsible for approximately 1,000 aircrew and air traffic controllers throughout seven bases. “The staff at the ACS is remarkable. AFMC’s Aeromedical Case Manager Jeannette Remy is always responsive to requests whether it be to expedite an appointment for someone deploying to checking on the status of an evaluation in progress. The physicians are readily available and responsive to the needs of the aeromedical community.”
ACS is part of the United States Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine, which itself is part of the 711th Human Performance Wing. The Internal Medicine branch staff have made efforts to work closely with the 711 HPW, such as in a recent study on the effect of aircraft ejections on aviators with osteoporosis, according to Davenport. In addition, the branch has recently worked with Naval Medical Research Unit Dayton and the U.S. Army on the pulmonary impacts of aviation, such as when rotary aircraft kick up dust in a deployed environment, according to Regn.
“This is something that we’ve really worked on for the last year or two, finding ways that we can collaborate with them to try and help them and also for them to help us to create research that helps us answer the challenging questions that we have,” Alford said.
In fact, the Internal Medicine branch is shifting more focus to research as its huge repository of information will allow for policy to be guided more by specific statistics vice expert opinion.
“We have 1.2 million EKGs on about 300,000 aircrew over 70 years time frame,” Davenport said. “We have every cardiac study done on every aviator since the inception of the Air Force, whether normal or abnormal. We follow every member from accession through retirement and use data to make policy. Right now, we’re combining databases and putting it into a more meaningful format for higher order analysis.”
Davenport began digitizing the studies when he first arrived at the ACS in 2009. Since then, he’s traveled the world discussing his early findings and the database’s importance. In 2010, he presented some data on a trip to Germany during a European flight surgeon’s course. He met with doctors from several other countries and proposed standing up a NATO Cardiology Working Group. Today, he co-chairs that group.
“I get e-mails from all over the world every day because we have the data to support every aeromedical cardiac recommendation,” Davenport said.
While the extent of the database’s impact is yet to be known, it’s already being felt.
“The continued research has definitely enhanced the capabilities of the aeromedical community and provided up-to-date treatment regimens for a wide variety of conditions,” Huber said. “Their work allows us to support our flying personnel with the overall goal to keep them flying safely and effectively.”
From ensuring capable pilots are able to climb back into cockpits to being a world leader in aeromedical internal medicine, the staff at the ACS Internal Medicine branch enjoy the opportunity to impact the Air Force mission of “Fly, Fight, Win.”
“It’s very rewarding because we do it not only on an individual patient level but also dealing with the major commands, dealing with headquarters and now on an international level to a lot of other countries who look to us and our opinions on how we care for our aviators,” Regn said. “That feels very impactful and rewarding.”
Regn, herself a co-chair on NATO working groups on pulmonology and sleep, says it’s the people of the ACS that makes the difference.
Published: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 10:12 PM
DAYTON — A 56-year-old man pinched a Dayton officer and threatened to bite him tonight during his arrest, according to a Dayton police report.
Officers on patrol reported finding Martin Eugene Flemings around 7:20 p.m. inside a garage that was boarded up by the city at 22 W. Hudson Ave.
According to the report, Flemings, who was possibly intoxicated, became belligerent after he found out his lighter shaped like a handgun would be placed in the property room. He began yelling and told an officer: “I’ll bite your nose off and spit it in your face,” the report stated.
Flemings then reached back and pinched the officer in the right thigh, according to the report.
Flemings was booked into the Montgomery County Jail on suspicion of menacing, resisting arrest and illegal entry into a nuisance premises. He also had a warrant for failing to appear on a drug possession charge, records show.
Published: Thursday, February 15, 2018 @ 12:15 PM
Updated: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 10:11 PM
— Chipotle Mexican Grill has hired a new chief executive officer and he has roots in southwest Ohio.
Chipotle has named Taco Bell’s Brian Niccol as its next leader, replacing Steve Ells, who built the fast-casual food chain.
Niccol is a 1996 graduate of Miami University, just an hour from Dayton.
Niccol, 43, graduated from Miami’s college of engineering and computing, serves on the advisory council of Miami’s Farmer School of Business and is a member of the college’s Phi Delta Theta fraternity, according to the university. He started his career at Procter and Gamble in marketing.
Niccol replaced Ells on March 5 after Ells announced in November that he planned to step down.
Niccol has been in charge of Taco Bell since 2015, according to reports. He is known as the person who brought the Doritos Locos Tacos and mobile ordering to Taco Bell.
Chipotle’s brand has suffered over the last few years as the company tries to recover from E.coli, norovirus and Salmonella outbreaks that got customers sick and shrunk burrito sales.
Published: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 9:37 PM
DELFT, The Netherlands — The giant mass of floating plastic trash in the Pacific Ocean, known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, now measures almost 620,000 square miles and is as much as 16 times larger than previous estimates, according to a new study.
The huge mass of soupy trash between California and Hawaii in what’s known as the Pacific gyre contains 87,000 tons of plastic, researchers reported in the study published Tuesday in the journal Nature Scientific Reports, and scientists said with the massive global plastic pollution continuing, it’s still growing.
Data between 1970 and 2015 shows the plastic levels in the garbage patch are increasing at a faster rate than in surrounding waters.
The biggest chunk of garbage in the patch, 46 percent of it, is fishing nets, according to the research. Other types of commercial fishing gear, including eel traps, ropes and oyster spacers account for a majority of the rest of the trash.
Oceanographer and lead researcher with the Ocean Cleanup Foundation Laurent Lebreton told National Geographic scientists wanted to study the bigger pieces of trash in the patch.
“I knew there would be a lot of fishing gear, but 46 percent was unexpectedly high,” Lebreton said. “Initially, we thought fishing gear would be more in the 20 percent range. That is the accepted number [for marine debris] globally - 20 percent from fishing sources and 80 percent from land.”
The fishing nets that litter the world’s oceans entangle whales, turtles and seals, and the plastic in the seas kills or injures 100,000 marine animals every year, National Geographic reported.
Researchers said there are still many unknowns about the garbage patch, including the level of plastic pollution in deeper waters and on the sea floor, and that more study is needed,
The findings are part of a three-year mapping effort involving Ocean Cleanup, an international team of scientists, six universities and an aerial sensor company.
Published: Wednesday, February 14, 2018 @ 12:41 PM
Updated: Thursday, March 22, 2018 @ 9:40 PM
— All 29 Arby’s locations in the Dayton area have been sold, and the nearly 1,000 workers at those restaurants have a new corporate employer.
AES Restaurant Group LLC, an Arby’s franchisee based in Carmel, Indiana announced Feb. 14 that it has acquired 29 Miami Valley restaurants from GZK, Inc., headquartered in West Carrollton. GZK had operated Arby’s restaurants in the Dayton area for more than five decades. With the purchase, AES now operates 46 Arby’s restaurants across Indiana, Ohio and Georgia.
A GZK spokeswoman referred questions to AES Restaurant Group President and CEO John Wade, who told this news outlet that the deal has been a long time in the making, and makes sense from a geographic standpoint — the Dayton market is only two hours away from AES Restaurant Group’s headquarters.
“We’ve always thought that the Dayton market was a prime Arby’s market, and we have pursued this for years,” Wade said. Working with GZK owner Neil Kaufman, Wade said, “We were finally able to put together a deal that was advantageous for all of us.”
Details of the transaction were not disclosed. All GZK employees have been hired by AES, including office support staff and members of the maintenance department, Wade said in a release.
“The same people who have been taking care of Dayton-area Arby’s customers for years will continue to do so,” Wade said. “We’ll be bringing some freshness to the restaurants, and will sharpen things up.”
After merging the two companies and its operations, AES will launch a remodeling project this summer for Dayton-area restaurants. The renovated restaurants will feature design elements such as wood tones, white brick, subway tiles, stainless steel finishes, and upgraded lighting and landscaping that will deliver an upgraded guest experience, AES officials said in a release.
GZK also had operated a dozen Lee’s Famous Recipe Chicken locations until 2014, when it sold the franchise restaurants to Far Hills Development LLC.