Tuesday, 26 February 2013


Undergraduate students undetaking incremental VO2 max tests
using the Metamax 3X System  from Cortex Medical

Testing Times

So with 1 month to go, the sea level testing is due to start. Ambitiously we are trying to fit in five reasonably large research projects over the Peru project to gain as much from the opportunity as possible. Suddenly the  realisation of what we are undertaking and how much that involves when considering a sample size of 29 becomes apparent on making all the sign up sheets for all the testing slots. However, most seem to be up for the challenge and realise the learning opportunity that it obviously brings.

The Hypoxic Chamber (Altitude Centre, London)

To give you an idea of numbers, simply before we go to Peru we need to complete:

- 24 Incremental VO2max Tests 
- 10 Lipid Challenge Tests
- 10 Basal Metabolic Rate Tests
- 58 Tests of Hydration
- 58 Hypoxic Walking Tests
- 72 Heat Tolerance Tests
- 87 Normoxic Walking Tests
- 261 Venous Blood Samples 
- 80 90min Heat Training Sessions
- 80 90min Normothermic Training Sessions 
= ~540 hours of testing.

To make sure all participants are booked in and appropriately prepared for testing we have created eight separate booking sheets to sign up for testing online. While all students have chosen one of the four physiological research studies to be experimenters for during sea level testing and while in Peru.

Our Gantt chart overview of testing blocks

Dr Alan Richardson and Dr Peter Watt analysing some blood samples

This amount of testing will obviously be a challenge and something I for one am looking forward to. We should be able to answer some really interesting questions, while offering our undergraduate and post- graduate students the opportunity to undertake some excellent projects and get even greater experience of laboratory techniques. 

Over the next few weeks we will be showing you the testing we are undertaking prior to leaving for Peru. We will be taking photos and making films.

Testing starts on Monday!

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Para-monte: Altitude illness awareness charity

Some of you reading this may well have heard the tragic story of the Eastbourne resident Adam Savory dying of altitude illness in Cusco Peru in September 2012. This was recently reported in the Eastbourne Herald on 25th January 2013. News Article

Within the report you will find the family and friends are working hard to develop a charity, Para-monte, to raise awareness of altitude illnesses and the methods to recognise symptoms and what to do if they occur. This charity will offer such an important information source for people travelling to altitude.

All individuals doing the Peru project offer their deepest sympathies with the family and friends of Adam and will help in whatever way we can to spread the word of Para-monte and altitude illness awareness, to reduce the chance of others in the future suffering the same.

We also hope that the research being undertaken here will help towards the understanding of altitude illnesses and the sea level prediction of if.

Testing Preparation

With less than 8 weeks to go we are preparing all the kit and testing consumables for the sea level testing and the trip.

Everyone was eager to find out which groups and research projects they were helping with or participating in.

The research is composed of five projects:
- Investigating fat metabolism and weight loss at altitude
- Cross tolerance and HSP72 up-regulation
- Predicting altitude tolerance
- Body fluid compartment changes with acclimatisation
- Evaluation of volunteering and research based field trips in higher education

On Friday everyone was informed of the research projects and measures. Measures using rectal thermistors, daily urine outputs, venous bloods, high fat drinks, hypoxic tests and long periods of heat acclimation training were welcomed with varying degrees of interest.

Over the next weeks we will start posting more often regarding the lead up to the trip and the science going on. Make sure you follow the blog to keep up to date by selecting the
google+1 button on the right hand panel.