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
World Conference on Regenerative Medicine in Leipzig: Last chance to submit abstracts until 2 July
25.06.2015 | Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
World Conference on Regenerative Medicine: Abstract Submission has been extended to 24 June
16.06.2015 | Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
New technique combines electron microscopy and synchrotron X-rays to track chemical reactions under real operating conditions
A new technique pioneered at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory reveals atomic-scale changes during catalytic reactions in real...
Think of an object made of iron: An I-beam, a car frame, a nail. Now imagine that half of the iron in that object owes its existence to bacteria living two and a half billion years ago.
Think of an object made of iron: An I-beam, a car frame, a nail. Now imagine that half of the iron in that object owes its existence to bacteria living two and...
A team of scientists including PhD student Friedrich Schuler from the Laboratory of MEMS Applications at the Department of Microsystems Engineering (IMTEK) of...
The three-year clinical trial results of the retinal implant popularly known as the "bionic eye," have proven the long-term efficacy, safety and reliability of...
On June 23, the second Sentinel mission was launched from the space mission launch center in Kourou. A critical component of Aachen is on board. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT and Tesat-Spacecom have jointly developed the know-how for space-qualified laser components. For the Sentinel mission the diode laser pump module of the Laser Communication Terminal LCT was planned and constructed in Aachen in cooperation with the manufacturer of the LCT, Tesat-Spacecom, and the Ferdinand Braun Institute.
After eight years of preparation, in the early morning of June 23 the time had come: in Kourou in French Guiana, the European Space Agency launched the...
25.06.2015 | Event News
16.06.2015 | Event News
11.06.2015 | Event News
02.07.2015 | Agricultural and Forestry Science
02.07.2015 | Materials Sciences
02.07.2015 | Health and Medicine