ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Traffic, Dust Linked to Asthma in Kids
Molecule in Skin May Link Eczema and Asthma
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Holistic Treatment for Candida Infection
Awareness of Alternative Therapies May Be Lacking
Quit Smoking the Holistic Way
ANIMAL CARE
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
BONES & JOINTS
Tips to Ease an Aching Back
Exercise Key Player in Knee Replacement Recovery
Returning to the Road Tricky After Injury
CANCER
More Cancer Tests Mean More False-Positive Results
Occaisonal Dieting May Cut Breast Cancer, Study Says
Massage Therapy Helps Those With Advanced Cancer
CAREGIVING
Rapid Infant Weight Gain Linked to Childhood Obesity
When the Caregiver Becomes the Patient
More Than 60,000 Patients Risked Hepatitis Infections
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Exercise May Blunt Salt's Effect on Hypertension
Walk 100 Steps a Minute for 'Moderate' Exercise
Salt Boosts Blood Pressure in High-Risk Patients
COSMETIC
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
New Genetic Links to Baldness Discovered
DENTAL, ORAL
Study Links Osteoporosis Drugs to Jaw Trouble
Gum Disease May Reactivate AIDS Virus
Toothbrushing May Stave Off Heart Woes
DIABETES
Findings Challenge Tight Glucose Control for Critically Ill Patients
24 Million Americans Had Diabetes in 2007
Brown Rice Bests White for Diabetes Prevention
DIET, NUTRITION
Fruit Even Healthier Than Thought: Study Shows
Keep Stress Off the Holiday Meal Menu, Expert Advises
Dark Chocolate May Lower Stroke Risk
DISABILITIES
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Green Areas Lower Health Inequities Between Rich, Poor
Stomach Germ May Protect Against Asthma
Flame-Retardant Chemical Linked to Conception Problems
EYE CARE, VISION
Eye Care Checkups Tied to Insurance Status
Eye Disease, Cognitive Decline Linked in Study
Green Tea May Ward Off Eye Disease
FITNESS
'Safe' Ozone Levels May Not Be for Some
Fall Cleanup Is a Prime Time for Accidents
Being Active an Hour a Day Puts Brakes on Weight Gain
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
Soothing Imagery May Help Rid Some Kids of Stomach Pain
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
GENERAL HEALTH
Common Social Groups and Race, Seem to Help People Relate
Want Sun Protection? Wear Red or Blue
Dr Churchill & Ashley Pelton Interview 1 of 4
HEAD & NECK
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
Study Suggests Link Between Cell Phones and Brain Tumors
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
HEARING
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Quitting Smoking Doubles Survival in Early Stage Lung Cancer
Psychiatric Drugs Might Raise Cardiac Death Risk
An Apple a Day May Help Keep Heart Disease Away
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Swine Flu Is Now a Pandemic Says W.H.O.
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Wood Fires Can Harm the Youngest Lungs
Exercise During Pregnancy Keeps Newborn Size Normal
St. John's Wort Doesn't Work for ADHD
MEN'S HEALTH
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
Could Chinese Herb Be a Natural Viagra?
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
The 3LS Wellness Program for Reversing Chronic Symptoms and Creating Lasting Health
Mind Exercise Might Help Stroke Patients
Teen Internet Addicts More Likely to Self-Harm: Study
PAIN
Alleviating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Placebo Acupuncture Tied to Higher IVF Pregnancies
Calcium Supplements Cut Blood Lead Levels During Pregnancy
Before Conceiving, Take Folic Acid for One Full Year
SENIORS
Friends, Not Grandkids, Key to Happy Retirement
For a Healthier Retirement, Work a Little
Older People at Greater Risk of Swine Flu Death
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
Meditation May Help Put Primary Insomnia to Bed
Exercising Throat Muscles May Relieve Sleep Apnea
Sleeping Could Help Women Lose The Baby Fat
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Exercise, Weight Control May Keep Fibromyalgia at Bay
Green Tea May Help Treat Uterine Fibroids
Varicose Veins May Mask Larger Problem
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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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