CASE Medicine
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NEWS: 17th Aug 2010
Xtreme Alps 2010 - end of week one report

The first week of research at the Margherita Hut is drawing to a close. Team A are completing the final few studies and are enjoying a break in the weather to get some fresh air. The week started with a faster than planned ascent to the Margherita Hut because of bad weather closing in. This took its toll on some members of the team, producing symptoms of acute mountain sickness. None-the-less, the laboratory was built and tested under the supervision of Paula Meale and Kay Mitchell ? ready for an intense week of research. Daily blood tests and breath analysis before breakfast meant for an early start every day, followed by a busy timetable of testing until tea time. The week was memorable for its weather. Very little was seen from the windows of the laboratory except for snow and cloud. For two days there were no other visitors to the hut as the snow outside was too deep to permit an ascent. This allowed us free range within the Hut and we made the most of it by hosting a quiz one night and a superb lecture from Jim Milledge the next evening. The laboratory team are now busy backing up the precious data that has been collected during the week and preparing the laboratory for Tea B?s arrival. Team B are currently acclimatising at the Gnifetti in readiness for the change over of teams.

One sad event during the week was the early departure of Kay Mitchell, project manager. For unexpected family reasons she had to descend back down to Alagna and return to the UK. She has been missed by the entire team and our thoughts are with her during this difficult time.

The research that has been conducted at the Margherita Hut in the last week is extremely complex and only possible due to the incredible team work of all the subjects and investigators. Working at altitude is tiring and difficult; the team have worked without complaint to collect as much data as possible in the time available. Rarely has such a large amount of data been gathered under these extreme conditions. The climbers that visit the Hut are constantly amazed by the amount of work the Xtreme Alps team are performing.

Dan Martin