Navigation Links
Scientists tackle mystery mountain illness
Date:8/21/2007

Experts at the University are studying an illness known as HAPE (high altitude pulmonary oedema), which causes fluid to build up in the lungs can and can occur from as low as 2,500 metres, affecting people of all age groups and fitness levels.

Little is known about the condition and there is no way of predicting who is likely to be affected although studies have suggested a genetic link. It is thought that around one in 50 people who travel to high altitudes suffer from HAPE.

The database, which is being run in collaboration with researchers from America, Austria, Bolivia, and Britain, aims to encourage registration from previous sufferers of HAPE. It will facilitate research that could potentially identify people susceptible to the condition. Genetic studies using the database may also provide greater understanding of what happens in HAPE sufferers' lungs.

Dr Kenneth Baillie, co-ordinator of the database and a researcher at the University of Edinburgh, said: There is no way of predicting who is likely to suffer from HAPE, as it can affect anyone even if you are young, healthy and active. Because it occurs from 2,500 metres, it can affect skiers as well as mountaineers. Treatment options are very limited and sufferers need to descend from high altitude and see a doctor straight away.

A major problem is that sufferers may not know that they have HAPE until it is too late. Once the symptoms start to appear which may include breathlessness at rest and blueness of the lips sufferers may not realise the severity of the illness and the urgency of reducing altitude and seeking medical treatment. It may also be that sufferers are not in a position to go down a mountain in time, whether this is due to how ill they are, weather conditions or how high up they are. This all reinforces how important it is to find out who may be susceptible in advance so that they can either try to prevent the onset of the illness or not put themselves in a potentially life-threatening situation.

Use of the database will be open to researchers worldwide, although details of individual members will be not be given out without their consent.

HAPE is the most common form of altitude sickness and can kill within hours if untreated. As the illness progresses, it can cause drowsiness and lack of coordination, leading to a coma and death. As cases are not registered, nobody knows exactly how many people have died as a result of the condition.

The main treatment is descent, but this is often impossible as a sufferer may need to be carried for miles on a stretcher, only to descend a few hundred feet. Other treatments include breathing oxygen and two drugs, dexamethasone and nifepidine, which may not be available when somebody becomes ill.

Blood vessels inside the lungs constrict in response to low oxygen to such an extent that fluid is forced from the capillaries (narrow tubes through which blood cells pass), leading to flooding of the lungs air sacs.

Risk factors include rapid ascent, physical exertion and a previous history of the condition. By understanding who is most at risk, potential sufferers could take precautions such as climbing much more slowly or taking drugs to prevent the onset of the condition.


'/>"/>
Contact: Tara Womersley
tara.womersley@ed.ac.uk
44-131-650-9836
University of Edinburgh
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Wisconsin scientists grow critical nerve cells
2. Scientists ID molecular switch in liver that triggers harmful effects of saturated and trans fats
3. UCSB scientists probe sea floor venting to gain understanding of early life on Earth
4. UAB scientists discover the origin of a mysterious physical force
5. Fox Chase Cancer Center scientists identify immune-system mutation
6. Scientists Replicate Hepatitis C Virus in Laboratory
7. Scientists detect probable genetic cause of some Parkinsons disease cases
8. Scientists find missing enzyme for tuberculosis iron scavenging pathway
9. Scientists seek answers on what activates deadly anthrax spores
10. Yale Scientists Find MicroRNA Regulates Ras Cancer Gene
11. Scientists collaborate to assess health of global environment
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/1/2016)... -- Today, the first day of American Heart Month, the ... first of its kind workplace health solution that leverages ... first application of Watson to ... Welltok will create a new offering that combines AHA,s ... on Welltok,s health optimization platform. The effort is intended ...
(Date:1/27/2016)... 2016  Rite Track, Inc. a leading semiconductor equipment ... Chester, Ohio announced today the acquisition of PLUS ... in Austin, Texas , will significantly ... modifications, installations and technical support offerings for TEL Track ... commented, "PLUS has provided world class service including refurbishment, ...
(Date:1/22/2016)... 22, 2016 ... of the  "Global Behavioral Biometric Market ... --> http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/4lmf2s/global_behavioral ) has announced ... Biometric Market 2016-2020"  report to their ... Markets ( http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/4lmf2s/global_behavioral ) has announced the ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/9/2016)... ... February 08, 2016 , ... Net-Translators, an industry-leading provider of ... its revamped and improved website. In an on-going effort to further educate customers ... better communicate how the company designs and delivers thorough, high-quality results for its ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... ... February 09, 2016 , ... The American Academy of Thermology ... offering its 2016 AAT Member Certification Qualification Course for Technicians via a two part ... which will include a detailed review of hardware, software, and camera setup/operations, aligns with ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... , Feb. 9, 2016  DNAtrix, a ... for cancer, announced that its lead product, ... Commission as an orphan medicinal product for ... form of glioma, strikes approximately 25,000 people ... http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160208/330986LOGO --> ...
(Date:2/9/2016)... 2016 Three-Year Initiative Supports Next Generation ... Part in Life-Changing Camp Experiences ... positively affect the lives of children born with rare diseases, as ... SHPG ) is announcing a new initiative designed to positively affect ... the future of rare disease care. --> To mark ...
Breaking Biology Technology: