ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Obesity May Raise Kids' Allergy Risk
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Alternative Treatments May Boost IVF Success
Music Therapy For Prehistoric Man?
Meditation, Yoga Might Switch Off Stress Genes
ANIMAL CARE
Beware of Dog Bites
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
BONES & JOINTS
Almost Half of Adults Will Develop Knee Osteoarthritis by 85
B Cells Can Act Alone in Autoimmune Diseases
For All Their Plusses, Pets Pose a Risk for Falls, Too
CANCER
Multiple Screening Strategy Boosts Cervical Cancer Detection
Smokeout '08: The Perfect Time to Quit
Ginger Can Ease Nausea From Chemotherapy Treatments
CAREGIVING
Rapid Infant Weight Gain Linked to Childhood Obesity
Timing May Matter in Organ Donation Decisions
Study Links Pesticides to Birth Defects
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Years of Exposure to Traffic Pollution Raises Blood Pressure
Obesity Linked to Heart Failure Risk
Anemia Rates Down for U.S. Women and Children
COSMETIC
Contact Lenses Boost Kids' Self-Image
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
Mouse Study Finds Molecule That Tells Hair to Grow
DENTAL, ORAL
Laser Technology Spots Cavities Before They Start
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
Biological Product Shows Promise Against Gum Disease
DIABETES
Boosting Vitamin D Can Do a Heart Good
Insulin Resistance Tied to Peripheral Artery Disease
24 Million Americans Had Diabetes in 2007
DIET, NUTRITION
Weight Loss Might Not Curb Knee Arthritis
Milk Destroys Antioxidant Benefits in Blueberries
Want to Stop Cancer? You Can, Experts Say
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Meat-Eating Dinosaurs Used Legs and Arms Like Birds
Database Helps Assess Your Breast Cancer Risk
Main Ingredients in Household Dust Come From Outdoors
EYE CARE, VISION
Kids Who Spend More Time Outdoors Have Better Vision
Eye Problems, Hearing Loss May Be Linked
Antioxidant-Rich Diet May Protect Against Eye Disease
FITNESS
Women Who Run May Benefit From Extra Folic Acid
Super Bowl Loss Can 'Kill' Some Fans
Mom and Baby Alike May Benefit From Exercise
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
Japanese Herbals May Ease Gastro Woes
Bowel Prep Harder on Women Than Men
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
GENERAL HEALTH
More Single Women Are Having Babies
Asparagus May Ease Hangover
Heavy Alcohol Use Linked to Cancer
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
Using Light Therapy to Silence Harmful Brain Activity
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
Kids With Vitamin D Deficiency Linked to Heart Trouble
Polyunsaturated Fats Really May Lower Heart Risk
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
The HPV Vaccine: Preventative Medicine or Human Sacrifice?
Older Adults May Have Some Immunity to Swine Flu
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Fussy Babys Could Be Out Of Your Control
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
MEN'S HEALTH
Sunlight May Help Protect Men From Kidney Cancer
Whole Grains, Bran May Fight Hypertension in Men
More Vitamin C May Mean Less Chance of Gout
MENTAL HEALTH
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
A Little Alcohol May Stave Off Alzheimer's
Cinnamon Breaks Up Brain Plaques, May Hold Key to Fighting Alzheimer’s
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
SENIORS
Want Better Health in the New Year, Add Exercise to Your Day
15-Point Test Gauges Alzheimer's Risk
Exercise Helps Reduce Falls in Young and Old
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Frankincense Provides Relief for Osteoarthritis
Supportive Weigh-In Program Keeps Pounds Off
Natural Therapies for Menopause
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Most Mt. Everest Deaths Occur Near Summit During Descent

THURSDAY, Dec. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Most deaths on Mount Everest occur during descents from the summit in the so-called "death zone" above 8,000 meters, and high-altitude cerebral edema appears to be associated with an increased risk of death.

That's the conclusion of researchers who analyzed the reported 212 deaths on the 29,000-foot mountain between 1921 and 2006.

The American, British and Canadian researchers found that the overall death rate for climbers and sherpas (locals hired to assist climbers) over those 86 years was 1.3 percent (1.6 percent among climbers and 1.1 percent among sherpas). Over the past 25 years, the death rate for climbers descending via the longer Tibetan northeast ridge was 3.4 percent, and 2.5 percent on the shorter Nepal route.

Excessive fatigue, a tendency to fall behind other climbers, and arriving at the summit later in the day were the factors most associated with risk of death, the study found. Many of those who died had symptoms such as confusion, a loss of physical coordination, and unconsciousness, all of which suggest high-altitude cerebral edema, a swelling of the brain caused by leakage of cerebral blood vessels.

Symptoms of high-altitude pulmonary edema (excessive fluid in the lungs) were rare among those who died on Everest. This surprised the researchers because high-altitude pulmonary edema is involved in most high-altitude-related deaths.

"We were also surprised at how few people died due to avalanches and ice falls in recent years... and that during descents, the mortality rate for climbers was six times that of sherpas," study leader Dr. Paul Firth, with the Massachusetts General Hospital department of anesthesia, said in a hospital news release.

The fact that fewer sherpas died during descents suggests that taking the time to acclimatize to high altitudes could improve climber survival. However, other factors may also be important, the study authors said.

"Most of the sherpas are born and live their lives at high altitudes, and the competitive process for expedition employment probably selects those who are best adapted to and most skilled for the work. So the ability of lowlanders to acclimate to these very high altitudes needs further investigation," Firth said.

The study was published Dec. 9 online issue of theBMJ.

More information

The MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia has more about acute altitude sickness.



-- Robert Preidt



SOURCE: Massachusetts General Hospital, news release, Dec. 9, 2008

Last Updated: Dec. 11, 2008

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