Clinical research on Mount Everest
Monty Mythen has been working in anaesthetics and critical care for over 20 years. He is Smiths medical professor at University College London and heads the academic department at the Institute of Child Health. He recently spent three months in Nepal helping with the largest ever medical research project at altitude, the Caudwell Xtreme Everest study. He attracted considerable media attention when his children, aged between 6 and 13, took part in a similar study, the Smiths Medical Young Everest study. Golnar Aref-Adib and Tracie Plant spoke to him on the foothills of Everest, Namche Bazaar
My mother was a district nurse, and I spent many hours travelling with her to see patients. Otherwise it was just an opportunity that presented itself at school. One day our A level biology teacher asked who would like to go Guy's Hospital to learn more about medical school. I put my hand up and said, “Does that mean a day off school sir?” He said yes, so I said, “Well alright then, I'll go.” I was intrigued by the visit and pursued the idea of going to medical school.
Primary measurements were taken at four different altitudes on the trekker's ascent to base camp, at 5330 m. These were cardiopulmonary exercise testing, neuropsychological assessment, near infrared spectroscopy of brain and exercising muscle, and blood markers. The trekkers kept daily records of their basic cardiovascular observations.
In the same way he or she can ask for a Nintendo Wii.