News

Home  >  News > Challenges of living in high altitude places: from the highest peaks to great...

Challenges of living in high altitude places: from the highest peaks to great astronomy observatories

More than a hundred million people live in places higher than 2,500 meters.

More than a hundred million people live in places higher than 2,500 meters.

A range of pathologies caused by high-altitude hypoxia are a thread to those people’s health and quality of life.

A range of pathologies caused by high-altitude hypoxia are a thread to those people’s health and quality of life.

ALTMEFIS network promoted the commitment from academic institutions to training experts on high altitude medicine and physiology.

ALTMEFIS network promoted the commitment from academic institutions to training experts on high altitude medicine and physiology.

This network improved working conditions of the staff from ALMA radiotelescope, in the desert of Atacama (Chile).

This network improved working conditions of the staff from ALMA radiotelescope, in the desert of Atacama (Chile).

From left to right, Ginés Viscor (UB), Joan Ramon Torrella (UB), Javier Botella (University and Polytechnic La Fe Hospital), Teresa Pagès (UB) and Juan Silva (University of Antofagasta).

From left to right, Ginés Viscor (UB), Joan Ramon Torrella (UB), Javier Botella (University and Polytechnic La Fe Hospital), Teresa Pagès (UB) and Juan Silva (University of Antofagasta).

29/11/2017

Recerca

It is not necessary to climb the Everest to suffer from some altitude sickness, a group of variable-risk pathologies which is not exclusive to those in the world of himalayism. More than a hundred million people live in places higher than 2,500 meters and there are more and more people who move to high altitudes due leisure or work. From a light altitude sickness to high-altitude cerebral or lung oedemas -which can be potentially fatal, a range of pathologies which are relatively common, caused by high-altitude hypoxia are a thread to those people’s health and quality of life.

 

Studying the impact of heights in human health, promoting advances in high altitude medicine and physiology, and establishing an international network of experts, are the main objectives of the Ibero-American network on High Altitude Medicine and Physiology (ALTMEDFIS), led by Professor Ginés Viscor, from the Faculty of Biology, from 2013 to 2016, and now distinguished by the Ibero-American Program for the Development of Science and Technology (CYTED) as one of the most outstanding actions in 2017.


From high altitude mines to the eight thousand challenge

High altitude medicine is a discipline which has an important outreach in diverse activities (mining, astronomical observation, frontier security and control, mountain climbing, skiing, tourism, etc.). ALTMEFIS network, formed by more than 150 experts from seventeen research groups from the Ibero-American field, promoted the commitment from academic institutions to training experts on high altitude medicine and physiology. The network became an international model in this field of biomedicine, and contributed to set the bases of post-studies international training   in this field, in which the master’s degree on Medicine in Hostile Environments and Catastrophes of the UB stands out, with content related to mountain medicine and trips as well as situations of humanitarian crises.

Several doctoral theses, articles and scientific publications on high altitude medicine support the research experience of the members of this network. According to Ginés Viscor, professor from the Department of Cell Biology, Physiology and Immunology of the UB and coordinator of the network, “hundreds of professionals had the opportunity to learn from international experts in training activities”. 

A decisive network to improve the health system in Andean countries

From 2013 to 2016, with the funding from the CYTED Program and private collaborations as well as the involved Universities, ALTMEDFIS organized training activities in countries such as Brazil, Colombia, Bolivia, Chile and Peru, framed within an ambitious program of seminars, workshops, sessions and stays for researchers in order to promote health control and preventive measures to prevent altitude-related pathologies.

The work to improve the labour conditions of the staff from ALMA radiotelescope, in Llano de Chajnantor Observatory –an astronomy research infrastructure located in the desert of Atacama (Chile)- is outstanding. Also, an entity that will create scientific knowledge to benefit the public and private sectors, has contributed to the creation of the Center for Altitude Medicine of the University of Antofagasta. In this Andean country, ALTMEDFIS has been essential regarding the design of the new regulations in the Ministry of Health, which provides health staff with expert training on altitude medicine. In Bolivia, health authorities approved of the guidelines of the network –which can be spread to all Andean countries- to tackle pathologies coming from living in high altitude places.

CYTED: promoting scientific and technological development in Ibero-American countries

The Ibero-American Program for the Development of Science and Technology (CYTED) is an initiative promoted by the governments of Ibero-American countries to promote the technological development through the promotion of scientific collaboration, knowledge transfer and exchange of scientists and technicians among R&D groups from member countries. In addition, some of the distinguished actions of 2017 by CYTED are themes such as the recovery of metal from industrial waste, the design of solar thermal concentrated energy systems, the development of biomedical-interest molecules to create antidotes for snake venom, and the sustainable use of marine resources, among other initiatives. 

 

Images: Ginés Viscor and Teresa Pagès (Faculty of Biology - University of Barcelona)

 

Share this at:
| More |
  • Follow us:
  • Button to access University of Barcelona's Facebook profile
  • Button to access University of Barcelona's Twitter profile
  • Button to access University of Barcelona's Instagram profile
  • Button to access University of Barcelona's Linkedin profile
  • Button to access University of Barcelona's Youtube profile
  • Button to access University of Barcelona's Google+ profile
  • Button to access University of Barcelona's Flickr profile
Member of International recognition of excellence HR Excellence in Research logo del leru - League of European Research Universities logo del bkc - campus excel·lència logo del health universitat de barcelona campus

© Universitat de Barcelona