The first lecture, entitled “From John Glenn to Healthy Aging”, was a CHAPS (Centre of Human and Aerospace Physiological Sciences) seminar given to an audience of MSc and PhD students, researchers and professors from the School of Biomedical Sciences at King’s. Joan recounted tales of the two space flights of John Glenn. In 1962, he became the first American to fully orbit the Earth aboard Mercury’s Friendship 7 capsule, at the age of 42 years. Subsequently, he made history again in 1998 by becoming the oldest man in space when he flew as a payload specialist on space shuttle Discovery at the age of 77 years, allowing scientists to better understand the effects of microgravity at different ages. Incidentally, John Glenn is still alive and well today, aged 92 years. The second lecture was more of a “scientific chat” with the Space Physiology and Health MSc students of King’s College. For more than 3 hours, Joan spoke to the attentive students, giving details of “behind the scenes” stories related to the manned space programs of the USA, Russia and Europe, and answering many questions from her interested audience.
I have known Dr Joan Vernikos now for many years and was very pleased indeed to receive her gift of a copy of her latest book “Sitting Kills, Moving Heals”, in which she presents a comprehensive scientific explanation for why we are so unhealthy — and more importantly delivers an easy-to-follow and scientifically proven plan for health restoration and maintenance. I, for one, will be reading it carefully when I’m sat, yet again, in an airport waiting lounge next week!