Diving in with DAN
Divers Alert Network provides a rare opportunity to learn some very specialist medicine. And that's at the same time as getting in your own wetsuit, says Clare Spooner
Very few places in the world actively pursue diving medicine research, especially outside the military, due to funding difficulties. Divers Alert Network (DAN), an American based organisation, does, and I spent my summer on an internship with them.
Based at Duke University, North Carolina, DAN is also involved in hyperbaric medicine research at the Duke Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Environmental Physiology. This is for both recreational divers and research for NASA and the military. The facilities include an impressive chamber complex at the hospital, which is used for research and hyperbaric oxygen therapy for patients. The centre's research aims to make recreational diving safer for all by determining the risk factors involved.
DAN provides 24 hour emergency help for divers in the United States and the Caribbean to deal with diving medical problems, offering help and advice in finding the hospitals with the appropriate treatment facilities.
Decompression sickness, also