Joseph Dituri, an associate professor at the University of South Florida, has broken the world record for living underwater, previously set at 73 days. Dituri has been studying how long-term stress from the pressure of an underwater habitat affects the human body at Jules’ Undersea Lodge in Key Largo since March 1. His 100 square meter underwater home has exposed him to an isolated, cramped environment. The research into Dituri’s health could also help prepare astronauts for long space journeys and possibly treat diseases such as traumatic brain injury. For the remainder of his 100-day mission, Dituri will teach his students online and continue to monitor his health.
If hyperbaric pressure can be used to increase cerebral blood flow, Dituri believes it could be used to treat traumatic brain injury and a variety of diseases. The medical team is collecting data on Dituri’s health, which will be compared to tests taken before he went underwater and will be taken again once he surfaces. The information will determine how the limited, oxygen-rich environment can affect the subject’s mental and physical conditions, which could help better prepare astronauts for long space journeys and possibly treat diseases. Dituri hopes the research will help protect, preserve and renew the marine environment while inspiring the next generation of scientists.