After some computer problems, I am very excited to be back on the blog, again! The two people that read this can stop worrying about me! I am trying something new with this post, by gathering some interesting and Expedition Medicine related news items. A bit less detailed info, but more topics to discuss! Here goes nothing…
HIGH ALTITUDE DAMAGES BRAIN CELLS
An interesting article from the European Journal of Neurology looked at the decreased oxygen environment found at high altitude and it’s damage to brain cells. The study examined high-altitude mountaineers pre and post ascents of K2 and Everest. MRI scans revealed a decrease in density of sections of both white and grey matter, both involved with motor activity. Nat Geo Adventure wrote an cool review of the article, as well.
THEOPHYLLIN AND AMS SYMPTOM REDUCTION
The latest issue of the Journal of Travel Medicine features an article looking at using low dose theophylline (300mg daily) to prevent symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness. The study featured 20 volunteers at an altitude of 4,559 meters. Lake Louise scores were used to asses symptoms and scores were reduced in the theophylline group, versus placebo.
MEDICINE for the OUTDOORS: DESERT ENVIRONMENT AND SURVIVAL
Dr. Auerbach’s blog over at Medicine for the Outdoorshas been running a series on the desert environment and desert survival that I have been enjoying very much. Dr. Aurebach credits Dr. Edward “Mel” Otten for the majority of the material and insight. I cannot think of a more concise and yet thorough series of essays on the desert as it relates to wilderness medicine. You can read the posts here: The Desert and Desert Survival #1, #2, #3 and now #4. Thanks for the work!
SOUTH AFRICAN FATAL VIRAL ILLNESS
There was a bit of recent media attention surrounding an outbreak of an Arenavirus in South Africa, involving several fatalities. This virus, while common in rodents and especially rodent urine, has never been previously noted to effect humans. The majority of cases were nosocomial transmission, involving nurses who cared for the index case. Pro-Med, as always, has excellent discussion about this outbreak.
FLAVORED and CRUSHABLE ANTIMALARIAL TABLET EFFECTIVE for CHILDREN
The Lancet has an article called “Efficacy and safety of artemether-lumefantrine dispersible tablets compared with crushed commercial tablets in African infants and children with uncomplicated malaria: a randomised, single-blind, multicentre trial” that I found interesting. The basic premise is that the current crushable tablets used to treat children for malaria have a very poor taste, thus possibly causing the child to “reject” part or all of the dose. This new tablet has a sweetened flavoring that will make the medicine easier to “go down”. The tablet contains 20mg of artemether and 120mg of lumefantrine, along with a cherry taste. This is part of the WHO 3 day/6 dose regime for malaria treatment. Hopefully this will not only help kids take the medicine they need but also decrease the formation of drug resistant strains.
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC ADVENTURE MAGAZINE WINS AWARDS
Congrats to the team at National Geographic Adventure Magazine for winning a bunch of awards from the Society of American Travel Writers! This is one of my favorite magazines and I am finding their blog equally impressive.
UNIVERSITY of ARIZONA VIDEO LECTURES on WILDERNESS MEDICINE
I stumbled upon this very cool lecture series through my usual web surfing. I though some others might enjoy them. This is a series of seven lecture able to be viewed as videos. Check it out here:
Well, that’s what I got for this last week! I am sure there are a lot of stories that I missed or chose not to include. If there is anything that I missed and you feel is important, please let me know!
Thanks for reading!