Everyday we are connected to otherwise unknowable people through connectivity never before imagined. Arguably we might not want to meet many of these people, but occasionally one pops into our lives with a special purpose, a mission.
I “met” Bree Fisk, a member of the team of Restech Corporation, a company that makes small sensors to detect acid reflux into the throat, through my work as a doctor. She appealed to me to help her become a research subject in a study out of the UK called Xtreme Everest. Apparently 1 in 5 people in the UK will end up in an ICU during his/her life. Many know that breathing difficulties, especially low oxygen, are life threatening problems. Studying ICU patients while they are sick is nearly impossible–experimental conditions in a life threatening illness makes it hard to control for many variables, and is likely unethical in most instances given the highly regulated human experimentation laws, universally adopted by researches globally.
What is this study? Teams of researchers bring otherwise healthy volunteers to sequentially higher altitudes that re-create the conditions one might find in an acutely ill patient in the ICU. Baseline testing is done at sea level, then 1300 meters (Kathmandu), 3500 meters (Namche Bazaar), and 5300 meters (Base Camp). From blood and urine samples, to more fancy and arduous exercise testing breathing mixtures not usually found in the “air” we breathe everyday (and then collecting samples), the experiment is itself a test of endurance, not to mention learning how to get fit for the trek.
Bree is asking for help to climb this mountain for the sake of science. She is studying Eastern Medicine, but clearly has a strong interest in Western Medicine, too. Her participation may save a life, and it may be yours. She needs some funding, so if this “peaks” your interest, please consider making a donation. Enjoy her blog and learning more about Xtreme Everest and some other really incredible people who are giving of themselves in ways that could benefit us all.