Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Altitude study may help patients, Edinburgh scientists say

Climber
Image caption The scientists are looking into how climbers respond to low oxygen

A study of altitude sickness experienced by climbers could help treat patients in intensive care.

It is hoped an insight into how climbers' respond to low oxygen will help improve prospects for patients with a severe shortage of oxygen.

The idea is being discussed at an Edinburgh International Science Festival event at the National Museum of Scotland.

People's experience of living in mountain areas will also be explored.

Researchers, led by Edinburgh University, are setting up a database to collect information about high-altitude pulmonary oedema which causes fluid in the lungs.

Sufferers are being encouraged to get in touch via altitude.org to help with the research, as are climbers who scaled above 3,500 metres and did not suffer from the condition.

Dr Ken Baillie, of The Roslin Institute at Edinburgh University, said: "Altitude sickness can affect people regardless of fitness and age.

"Understanding why some people are better able to acclimatise to high altitude than others, and what happens on a physiological level, could help inform research into treatments for intensive care patients who have low levels of oxygen in their blood."

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