Sponsored by National Geographic and apparel maker The North Face with support from Montana State University, the Mayo Clinic study is designed to provide insight into conditions such as heart failure, lung disease and sleep apnea that are associated with low oxygen levels like those found at high altitudes. The findings, which are expected to be published next year, may assist in treating patients with these medical conditions as well as in supporting military personnel, workers and outdoor enthusiasts who work or play at high altitudes.
The climbers spent six weeks of acclimatization at the expedition’s 17,500-foot-
“Our body sensing technology has been used for research for many years in areas ranging from obesity to COPD, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, cancer, bariatrics, sleep and intensive care, but this is the first use of our monitors for altitude research,” said Christine Robins, BodyMedia CEO. “The fact that Mayo Clinic selected our armbands for this project again demonstrates that our data, which is clinically validated for measuring physical activity, is as valuable for these kinds of rigorous studies as it is for weight management and other consumer applications.”
“Altitude research has practical applications for various diseases as well as for treating altitude sickness and helping people adjust to high elevations, whether you’re talking about troops in Afghanistan, workers in the South Pole or observatories that are thousands of feet above sea level. This Everest expedition will advance the science, particularly for conditions like heart and lung disease and sleep apnea that also have a low oxygen component,” said lead researcher and expedition member Bruce Johnson, Mayo professor of physiology and medicine. “The data collected by BodyMedia’s monitors will help us understand the stresses that high-altitude, low-oxygen environments place on the body and, hopefully, contribute to applying that knowledge to medicine.”