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Articles written by James D. Latkin Phd Md

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  • On to College for Aviation: What You'll Need to Get off the Ground

    James D. Latkin PhD MD FACP CFI CFII MEI|Sep 1, 2020

    Summer's days are passing by and COVID-19 willing, it will be off to college for a number of aspiring pilots. As Minnesotans we are blessed with a couple of first rate aviation programs at Minnesota State and up at the University of North Dakota. Thus, I've been talking with a number of soon to be college students and their parents about preparing to pack off for education in the wild blue. I've been impressed with the intelligence and motivation of so many of these students, two critical...

  • Aeromedical Forum

    James D. Latkin PhD MD FACP CFI CFII MEI, Airline Transport Pilot FAA Senior Aviation Medical Examiner|Aug 1, 2020

    I was planning a spine-tingling discussion on the use of seatbelts in aviation for this month, but it seems like the questions at the FBO are overwhelmingly about something else, COVID-19. Rightly so. As we try to inch back to a semblance of normalcy in the aviation community, we increasingly risk infection, hospitalization or even death. The rate of infection is skyrocketing nationally. Fortunately, here in Minnesota we have not seen exponential increases but, at this writing infection rates are beginning to creep up again. As pilots, we are...

  • Aeromedical Forum

    James D. Latkin PhD MD, CFI,CFII,MEI,Airline Transpost Pilot, FAA Senior Medical Examiner|Sep 1, 2019

    Stop by the pharmacy section at the grocery or drug store and you’ll find a dietary supplement for just about everything you want to be: strong, big, potent, smart, handsome. You name it and somebody will sell you an extract of herbs and vitamins to fit the bill. Now I know that there are folks that swear by whatever they’re taking to achieve whatever they want out of life and that’s fine, sort of. Indeed more than 50% of adults in the US consume dietary supplements to the tune of $35 billi... Full story

  • Aeromedical Forum

    James D. Latkin PhD MD, FACP,CFI,CFII,MEI, Airline Trans. Pilot, FAA Sen. Med. Examiner|Aug 1, 2019

    Over thirty states have legalized the use of marijuana or its active ingredients (cannabinoids) either for medical or recreational use. Here in Minnesota medical marijuana has been available for several years although its use is strictly regulated by the State Department of Health. To get in the door of a cannabis (marijuana) dispensary you first have to be seen by a certifying physician approved by the health department. If you have any of the approved conditions inclusive of cancer associated... Full story

  • Aeromedical Forum

    James D. Latkin PhD MD, FACP,CFI,CFII,MEI,Airline Trans. Pilot, FAA Sen. Aviation Med. Examiner|Jul 1, 2019

    Last month we talked about Special Issuances, the route to medical certification when you have a significant medical condition that might affect your flying. This involves getting reports from your treating physician along with tests, sending them to the FAA, getting a flight physical from your AME, waiting four to six weeks and, if all is well, getting your medical. A few years back the FAA took a look at sorting out those airmen that had a medical condition that might be an issue but were... Full story

  • Aeromedical Forum

    James D. Latkin PhD MD, FACP CFI CFII MEI Airline Transpost Pilot FAA SR. Aviation Med. Examiner|Apr 1, 2019

    Back in September of 2015 on a trans-Atlantic Air Canada flight a two year old asthmatic boy started to develop cough, wheezing and progressively worsening shortness of breath. The parents had put the kid's asthma medicines in their checked luggage. Duh! Fortunately the aircraft medical kit had oxygen and some asthma medication. Even more fortunately a Canadian doc who specialized in medical robotics was on board. He jerry-rigged a makeshift nebulizer, using a plastic carton and a paper cup to... Full story

  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or Not?

    James D. Latkin PhD MD, CFI,CFII,MEI, Airline Transport Pilot,FAA Senior Aviation Medical Examiner|Mar 1, 2019

    I know you’ll find this hard to believe but diseases sometimes can be fads. In other words some disorders catch the public fancy and all of a sudden “everyone’s got it”. Entities such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, fibromyalgia, Lyme’s Disease all are documented illnesses and can be very serious but a lot of people decide they have them because they don’t have any better explanation for their problems. Sad to say, sometimes a health care provider erroneously tags someone with one of these label... Full story

  • Aeromedical Forum

    James D. Latkin PhD MD, FACP,CFI, CFII, MEI, Airline Transport Pilot, FAA Senior Medical Examiner|Dec 1, 2018

    In 2011, the FAA reviewed the toxicology reports of 1,353 recent fatal General Aviation accidents. They found that 42 percent of all pilots involved had drugs in their blood stream that impaired performance. It's a stark reminder that the most common cause of aviation accidents is pilot error, and that a frequent contributor to those errors is drugs, legal or illegal. If you're using crack, ecstasy or heroine, you've got no business going near an aircraft, much less trying to fly it. Now, I'm... Full story

  • Central Serous Retinopathy: AKA Blind as a Bat!

    James D. Latkin PhD MD, CFI CFII MEI Airline Transport Pilot FAA Senior Medical Examiner|Nov 1, 2018

    One morning a while ago, a pilot friend awoke and noticed his eyesight was funny. His Venetian blinds looked wavy instead of straight. It seemed that colors weren’t as vivid as they should be. Things seemed a little fuzzy in one eye. He went barreling over to his eye doc and was told he had central serous retinopathy (CSR). This is caused by fluid buildup between the retina and its underlying support on the back of the eye. This leads to a partial a separation of the retina, causing the v... Full story

  • Aeromedical Forum

    James D. Latkin PhD MD, FACP,CFI,CFII,MEI, Airline Transport Pilot, FAA Senior Medical Examiner|Oct 1, 2018

    Question 17b on your FAA MedXpress Form 8500-8 which you fill out before a flight physical, is one that gives folks a hard time: “Item 17b Do You Ever Use Near Vision Contact Lenses While Flying?” Some airmen will say yes if they wear any lenses at all, including eyeglasses. That’s wrong. Some airmen will say yes if they wear any type of contact lens. That’s wrong. Some airmen will say yes if the wear contacts with bifocals. Wrong again! What the FAA is looking for, and wants you to avoid,... Full story

  • Flying by Ear

    James D. Latkin PhD MD, FACP, CFI,CFII, MEI, Airline Transport Pilot|Jun 1, 2018

    Communication is critical when flying, especially IFR. I was reminded of that a few years ago when we were in the clag, out of Atlanta, Minnesota bound. George was doing most of the flying and things were pretty calm until Atlanta Center issued the somewhat mush-mouthed call: “Two Nyna Fav Delta Lima, fla daarek sea two.” At least that’s what I thought I heard. After a couple of back and forth’s with our heavily accented controller, it was finally discovered that we should fly direct to the Cha... Full story

  • Aeromedical Forum

    James D. Latkin PhD MD, CFI, CFII, MEI, Airline Transport Pilot, FAA Senior Medical Examiner|May 1, 2018

    Have you ever thought that flinging yourself through the air at several hundred miles an hour, several miles above the earth in a tiny cylinder of aluminum is a bit odd? Probably not. You're a pilot and flying is the best thing conceivable. However, your body may not agree with you. Even in the most modern of commercial aircraft, the environment is not what you normally experience on your front porch. The cabin altitude is usually around 8,000 ft. MSL, a big jump for us Midwesterners. Oxygen... Full story

  • Flying with Hepatitis C

    James D. Latkin PhD MD, FACP CFI MEI Airline Transport Pilot, FAA Senior Aviation Medical Examiner|Apr 1, 2018

    Not too long ago a pilot friend wandered into the clinic looking pretty rugged. His appetite was bad. He'd been losing weight. Felt tired all the time. He really got alarmed when he noticed his eyes turning yellow and his legs swelling. He was feeling a little confused at times. He was worried. We did a few blood tests that confirmed what I was suspecting-hepatitis, an inflammation of the liver. In this case it was due to Hepatitis C virus. Hepatitis C Virus, HCV or Hep C as it's often called, i... Full story