The US Antarctic Program has a large number of healthy people going to the South Pole through the sea level station McMurdo each spring/summer (southern hemisphere); our fall and winter. The South Pole is at an altitude of 2900 m, but due to lower pressures than other areas of the world, the pressure altitude may vary between 3300 and 4000 m. In addition, increased activity levels at the South Pole and cold may aggravate symptoms. Although the altitudes are not extreme, most personnel will have mild to moderate altitude related symptoms. The frequency, intensity and duration of symptoms have not formally been quantified in the US Antarctic Program previously to determine need for prophylactic treatment. In addition, the highly structured Antarctic program offers a unique opportunity to study predictors of altitude illness in an otherwise healthy population that cannot be easily pursued at other locations, like ski resorts, due to the variability in how people go to altitude (e.g., drive, fly) and how quickly they go to altitude. Thus an additional aim of this study will be to determine predictors of altitude illness (including genetic markers) in the general population. The findings from this study will have implications for the military, NASA and clinically, since hypoxia (similar to that of high altitude) drives the pathophysiology of a number of diseases states, including diseases such as chronic heart failure, lung disease, obstructive sleep apnea.
The research project was funded October of 2006 and will run for three years.
The study will be incorporating the use of the Vivometric Lifeshirts (wearable shirts for physiological monitoring) and BodyMedia activity monitors for quantifying activity levels of study participants as well as Medical Graphics Corp portable spirometry units.
Study Dates 2007:
Study Dates 2006:
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