BOSTONAfghanistan's geography is dominated by a collection of craggy peaks, the highesta mountain known as Noshaqhas been measured to 7,492 meters. Consequently, the soldiers on duty in this mountainous terrain must often ascend to great heights as part of their duty. However, quick climbs without adapting to altitude can lead to a condition called acute mountain sickness (AMS), marked by headache, fatigue, gastrointestinal distress, nausea, and insomnia.
Conventional knowledge suggests that to avoid AMS, climbers need to "stage," or set up camp, at a lower altitude for four days when summiting peaks as high as 4300 meters. However, with this being impractical in a combat environment, military researchers set out to test whether this goal could be accomplished more quicklyin half the time. In a new study by Beth A. Beidleman, Charles S. Fulco, Robert W. Kenefick, Allen Cymerman, Janet E. Staab, and Stephen R. Muza, all of the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, researchers tested whether two days of staging at a moderate altitude is enough to avoid AMS before ascent to 4300 meters. Their findings show that this significant shortcut is about as effective as utilizing twice the time to stage, providing evidence that soldiers can ascend safely much quicker than previously thought.
The team will discuss the abstract of their study entitled, "Two Days of Staging at Moderate Altitude Reduces Acute Mountain Sickness Upon Further Ascent to 4300 m in Unacclimatized Lowlanders," during a poster presentation at the Experimental Biology 2013 meeting, being held April 20-24, 2013 at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, Boston, Mass. The presentation is sponsored by the American Physiological Society (APS), a co-sponsor of the event. As the findings are being presented at a scientific conference, they should be considered preliminary, as they have not undergone the peer review process that is conducted prior to the data being
|Contact: Donna Krupa|
American Physiological Society