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Altitude Extremes Research


Many people sojourn to high altitude for recreation and work. For example, 100 000 trekkers visit Nepal alone each year, and many more visit the mountainous regions of Europe, Africa, the Americas, Australasia and Asia for outdoor activities. Drs Macdonald, Moore and Oliver have completed a numerous investigations examining the effect altitude on human health and performance. Dr Moore’s research has sought to understand the physiology of high-altitude dwelling populations in the Peruvian Andes and in the Ethiopian Highlands. Additionally, Drs Macdonald and Oliver research in the Himalayas and Alps has shown the benefits of carbohydrate sports drinks to those travelling to high-altitude and that immune function is suppressed.

Most recently, Dr Macdonald with his PhD student Justin Lawley have shown that alterations in brain water caused by hypoxia are associated with headache, which is the cardinal symptom of Acute Mountain Sickness.

Selected Publications (click on titles below to read the study summary):

Lawley JS, Alperin N, Bagci A, Lee SH, Mullins PG, Oliver SJ, and Macdonald JH, (2014). Normobaric hypoxia and symptoms of acute mountain sickness: Elevated brain volume and intracranial hypertension. Annals of Neurology, 2014; 75(6): 890

Oliver SJ, Macdonald JH, Harper Smith AD, Lawley JS, Gallagher CA, Di Felice U, and Walsh NP (2013). High altitude impairs in vivo immunity in humans. High Altitude Medicine and Biology, 14, 144-149.

Lawley JL, Oliver SJ, Mullins PG, and Macdonald JH (2013). Investigation of whole-brain white matter identifies altered water mobility in the pathogenesis of high-altitude headache. Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism, 33, 1286-1294.

Oliver SJ, sanders SJ, Williams CJ, Smith ZA, Lloyd-Davies E, Roberts R, Arthur C, Hardy L, Macdonald JH (2012). Physiological and psychological illness symptoms at high altitude and their relationship with acute mountain sickness: a prospective cohort study. Journal of Travel Medicine, 19(4), 210-219

Oliver SJ, Golja P, and Macdonald JH (2012). Carbohydrate supplementation and exercise performance at high altitude: a randomized controlled trial. High Altitude Medicine and Biology, 13, 22-31.

Macdonald JH, Oliver SJ, Hillyer K, Sanders S, Smith Z, Williams C, et al. (2009). Body composition at high altitude: a randomized placebo-controlled trial of dietary carbohydrate supplementation. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 90, 1193-1202.

Moore JP, Claydon VE, Norcliffe LJ, Rivera-Ch M , Leon-Velarde F, Appenzeller O, and Hainsworth R (2006). Carotid baroreflex regulation of vascular resistance in high altitude Andean natives with and without chronic mountain sickness. Experimental Physiology, 91, 907-903.

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