X. World Congress on High Altitude Medicine and Physiology & Mountain Emergency Medicine, held in Bozen/Bolzano
Anyone who spends time at altitude in excess of 2500 metres can have difficulties, sometimes against all expectation, in adapting to these heights. They may subsequently complain either of minor ailments such as headache, dizziness, disturbed sleep, or may experience more serious consequences of altitude sickness, which can be fatal. The first interim findings were presented on 28 May 2014 by the organisers of the congress run by the EURAC Institute of Mountain Emergency Medicine in South Tyrol, together with their research colleagues.
Hundreds of millions of people all over the world travel to, work in or live in mountainous regions. The stress caused by high altitudes causes many health problems as their body seems to be incapable of adapting to such conditions. Studies presented at the congress by mountain medicine experts indicate that around 15% of the population living in the South American Andes suffer from chronic altitude sickness with severe effects on their everyday lives.
The Sherpas in Nepal as well as the population of Tibet, on the other hand, are largely resistant to altitude sickness. Genetically they were able to adapt gradually to such conditions over hundreds of generations, and this seems to determine whether people are sensitive to high altitudes or not. “The Tibetans have populated ‘The Roof of the World’ for many centuries.
They have adapted superbly to such altitudes in terms of their genetic development. The inhabitants of the Andes, on the other hand, have not been able to adapt fully to their present habitat since they have not been settled there long enough.” This is the conclusion drawn by Hermann Brugger and Giacomo Strapazzon from the Bozen/Bolzano EURAC Institute for Alpine Emergency Medicine, summarising the research findings presented at the congress.
What has not been fully understood by scientists is which factors are primarily responsible for acute altitude sickness. This serious illness, which can lead to a brain or lung oedema, is the most frequent cause of death amongst mountaineers. On the occasion of the World Congress, the scientists presented new studies, demonstrating for the first time how, with the aid of ultrasound, the risk of altitude sickness can be diagnosed early. The studies showed a direct link between an enlarged optic nerve, measured with ultrasonography techniques, and altitude sickness. The results presented at the congress are based on the so-called “Ortler Study” carried out in 2011 by EURAC medical experts Brugger and Strapazzon in collaboration with the glacier scientists located on the Ortler Mountain.
Compared to other specializations, high altitude and mountain medicine is a fairly recent discipline. At the same time, this particular discipline has to cope with several complicating factors relating to diagnosis and therapy: weather conditions, difficult terrain, psychological problems brought about by the extreme conditions that prevail at high altitudes. hosts the congress.
Nepal, symbolic for high altitude and at the same time for the problems associated with high altitude, is one of the main themes of this congress. The steady increase in mountaineering tourism from the rich western world collides with the poverty of the local population. “The Mount Everest avalanche disaster on 18 April this year showed how important it is that the Nepalese Sherpas and mountain guides are also fully trained in rescue procedures. Many of them have not even mastered the most important techniques of first aid. We are a group of 20 Nepalese doctors and Sherpas and as we were fortunate enough to complete a medical and rescue-related training course in South Tyrol, we are now in a position to pass on this knowledge to others. We intend to set up a locally organised mountain rescue system in Nepal,” explains Pranawa Koirala, Nepalese mountain rescuer and doctor, who, two years ago, trained in mountain rescue in South Tyrol.
The X. World Congress on High Altitude Medicine and Physiology & Mountain Emergency Medicine will discuss latest global research findings and new developments in mountain rescue techniques; topics related to mountain emergency medicine will feature on the programme for the first time in the history of the congress.
Laura Defranceschi | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
International symposium: trends in spatial analysis and modelling for a more sustainable land use
20.05.2015 | Leibniz-Institut für ökologische Raumentwicklung e. V.
15th conference of the International Association of Colloid and Interface Scientists
18.05.2015 | Max-Planck-Institut für Polymerforschung
Physicists have developed an innovative method that could enable the efficient use of nanocomponents in electronic circuits. To achieve this, they have developed a layout in which a nanocomponent is connected to two electrical conductors, which uncouple the electrical signal in a highly efficient manner. The scientists at the Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel have published their results in the scientific journal “Nature Communications” together with their colleagues from ETH Zurich.
Electronic components are becoming smaller and smaller. Components measuring just a few nanometers – the size of around ten atoms – are already being produced...
Development and implementation of an advanced automobile parking navigation platform for parking services
To fulfill the requirements of the industry, PolyU researchers developed the Advanced Automobile Parking Navigation Platform, which includes smart devices,...
The world's first electrical car and passenger ferry powered by batteries has entered service in Norway. The ferry only uses 150 kWh per route, which...
On Tuesday, 19 May 2015 the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its home port in Bremerhaven, setting a course for the Arctic. Led by Dr Ilka Peeken from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) a team of 53 researchers from 11 countries will investigate the effects of climate change in the Arctic, from the surface ice floes down to the seafloor.
RV Polarstern will enter the sea-ice zone north of Spitsbergen. Covering two shallow regions on their way to deeper waters, the scientists on board will focus...
Nanoengineers at the University of California, San Diego developed a gel filled with toxin-absorbing nanosponges that could lead to an effective treatment for skin and wound infections caused by MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), an antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This "nanosponge-hydrogel" minimized the growth of skin lesions on mice infected with MRSA - without the use of antibiotics. The researchers recently published their findings online in Advanced Materials.
To make the nanosponge-hydrogel, the team mixed nanosponges, which are nanoparticles that absorb dangerous toxins produced by MRSA, E. coli and other...
20.05.2015 | Event News
18.05.2015 | Event News
12.05.2015 | Event News
26.05.2015 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
26.05.2015 | Life Sciences
26.05.2015 | Power and Electrical Engineering