UCL News


UCL in the News: Doctors start Everest medical tests

20 April 2007

A group of mountaineering medics are in position at a base camp on Mount Everest, ready to carry out tests that could lead to significant advances in medicine.

The Caudwell Xtreme Everest team from UCL plan to examine the effects of oxygen deprivation on the human body - a critical problem for patients in intensive care. …

The researchers will carry out a variety of experiments on themselves and over 200 volunteer trekkers at base camp (5,300 metres). …

Dr Mike Grocott [UCL Centre for Aviation, Space & Extreme Environmental Medicine] said: "Low oxygen levels are pretty much a universal feature of patients who are very sick.

"Unfortunately it is quite difficult to separate out the effects of low oxygen back home on the wards from all the other things that are going on.

"Strange as it may seem, Everest is a brilliant model for looking at how humans adapt to low oxygen levels." …

"We would hope to be able look, in a few years' time, to developing treatments that allow people who are critically ill to use oxygen more efficiently." …

In total about 25 tonnes of equipment had been shipped in, much of it carried by porters or yaks up to base camp.

"We are really delighted. We have managed to set up a laboratory facility up here which essentially mirrors what we have in London.

"As a result we have finished the testing on arrival of the Xtreme team, and we are comfortable, having had the first set of trekkers through, that we can do the science on the 200-odd trekkers that will be coming up." …

BBC News Online