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 NEWS  13th May 2010

Giants of altitude research present for Caudwell Xtreme Everest

Legends Cerretelli, Whipp, Milledge, Nunn, West, and Severinghaus

Caudwell Xtreme Everest were delighted to host some of the "giants of altitude research" at the Kn02wledge V conference. The meeting, held at the Royal Society of Medicine in London, was organised by the UCL Centre for Altitude Space and Extreme Environment Medicine.

The audience were treated to lectures by Professors John Severinghaus, John West, Paolo Cerretelli, Jim Milledge, and Hans Hoppeller as well as exercise physiologist Professor Brian Whipp. Later, respiratory physiologist Professor John Nunn joined them at the conference dinner (pictured above). The Kn02wledge Conference, the fifth in the series, focussed on the presentation of core data from the record-breaking Caudwell Xtreme Everest medical research expedition in 2007. The faculty of highly acclaimed international collaborators also included Professors Cecilia Gelfi, Can Ince, Erik Swenson, Martin Feelisch and Keiran Clarke as well as core investigators from the 2007 CXE expedition.

John West opened proceedings with an excellent historical perspective of research at altitude, followed by a summary of the core aims and achievements of the 2007 expedition by Mike Grocott. This was followed by a session on oxygen delivery presented by Jim Milledge, Dan Martin and Can Ince.

After lunch, the issue of oxygen consumption was addressed by Paolo Cerretelli, Denny Levett and Brian Whipp. This was followed by an in depth discussion of skeletal muscle at altitude by Hans Hoppeller, Andrew Murray, and Cecilia Gelfi. The presenters presented data obtained from the unique muscle biopsies obtained by the CXE team whilst still at Base Camp at 5300m.

In the final session of the day, Professor Anita Holdcroft, President of the Section of Anaesthesia at the Royal Society of Medicine, presented a scroll to John Severinghaus. This was followed by a wonderful plenery lecture on the history of the Discovery of Oxygen by Professor Severinghaus.

KV Faculty small

The following morning commenced with a session on metabolism and genetics. Hugh Montgomery opened proceedings, followed by Kieran Clarke and Martin Feelisch. Mark Wilson and Chris Imray then formed a coalition to present data about the nervous system at altitude, followed by neuropsychometric data from Jan Stygall.

In the afternoon, Erik Swenson and Roger McMorrow discussed breathing at altitude, and in the final session of the day, Janet Stocks presented data from the Smiths Medical Young Everest Study. She was followed by David Howard, who showed some truly stunning images of the damage that can be done to the upper airway when exposed to prolonged hypoxia at altitude.

Feedback from the audience was of a highly engaging and interesting two days of historical context mixed with novel data. The Caudwell Xtreme Everest team along with international collaborators will now move to integrate the seperate data sets to build a more comprehensive picture of hypoxic adaptation in order to move towards their goal of improving the care of criticall ill patients.

Story by Kay Mitchell 

Kay Mitchell

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