Expedition health and safety: a risk assessment.
Little has been published on the risks of participating in an expedition. A questionnaire survey was conducted to quantify those risks and to determine how expedition organizers plan for medical mishaps. 246 expeditions, taking 2381 participants to more than one hundred countries, were studied retrospectively. 65 expeditions (26%) reported no medical incidents; the remaining 181 reported 835 in 130,000 man-days (6.4 per 1000 man-days). 59% of the medical incidents seen on expeditions were preventable, one-third of these being due to gastrointestinal upsets. 78% of medical incidents were classified as minor and only 5% (40) as serious. There was no excess of serious incidents in any particular organizational group or environment. The findings of this survey suggest that the health risks of participating in a well-planned expedition are similar to those encountered during normal active life. (+info)
Birmingham Medical Research Expeditionary Society 1977 Expediton: thyroid function and acute mountain sickenss.
In a study of 17 subjects plasma-thyroxine-binding globulin and plasma thyroxine concentrations rose during a high altitude trek. An early and sustained rise in plasma reverse triiodothyronine occurred independently of changes in plasma thyroxine and was probably related to physical exertion. Similar changes in thyroid function were found in subjects most affected and least affected by acute mountain sickness. (+info)
Trends in mucosal immunity in Antarctica during six Australian winter expeditions.
The mucosal immune status of Australian Antarctic personnel was monitored during six wintering expeditions at two Australian Antarctic Research Stations, Casey in 1992, 1993, 1994, and Mawson in 1992, 1995, 1996. Salivary immunoglobulin and albumin levels were examined for differences between stations and expeditions, and for monthly changes over the expedition year. Salivary IgA and IgM concentrations were on average higher for the 1993 Casey expeditioners, and all salivary protein levels were lower for 1996 Mawson expeditioners compared to levels of the other expeditions. The change in salivary IgA and IgM concentrations over the 1-year period revealed a consistent pattern between expeditions. Salivary IgA levels were lower in March, April and May compared to other months of the year (P = 0.0002). Salivary IgM levels were lowest in the first 4 months of the year, with peak levels in June and July (P < 0.0001). There were no changes in salivary IgG and albumin concentrations over the expedition year. Though the cause of the changes in salivary IgA and IgM levels over the year is unknown, the changes could reflect alterations in mucosal immunity in response to stressors associated with isolation. (+info)
David Samwell (1751-98): surgeon on the Discovery.
David Samwell, born in North Wales, was surgeon on the Discovery during the third and last voyage of Captain James Cook. Samwell wrote a biography of Cook and was a distinguished poet. He also served on several more voyages, retiring from the sea aged 45. (+info)
Wood-destroying soft rot fungi in the historic expedition huts of Antarctica.
Three expedition huts in the Ross Sea region of Antarctica, built between 1901 and 1911 by Robert F. Scott and Ernest Shackleton, sheltered and stored the supplies for up to 48 men for 3 years during their explorations and scientific investigation in the South Pole region. The huts, built with wood taken to Antarctica by the early explorers, have deteriorated over the past decades. Although Antarctica has one of the coldest and driest environments on earth, microbes have colonized the wood and limited decay has occurred. Some wood in contact with the ground contained distinct microscopic cavities within secondary cell walls caused by soft rot fungi. Cadophora spp. could be cultured from decayed wood and other woods sampled from the huts and artifacts and were commonly associated with the soft rot attack. By using internal transcribed spacer sequences of ribosomal DNA and morphological characteristics, several species of Cadophora were identified, including C. malorum, C. luteo-olivacea, and C. fastigiata. Several previously undescribed Cadophora spp. also were found. At the Cape Evans and Cape Royds huts, Cadophora spp. commonly were isolated from wood in contact with the ground but were not always associated with soft rot decay. Pure cultures of Cadophora used in laboratory decay studies caused dark staining of all woods tested and extensive soft rot in Betula and Populus wood. The presence of Cadophora species, but only limited decay, suggests there is no immediate threat to the structural integrity of the huts. These fungi, however, are widely found in wood from the historic huts and have the capacity to cause extensive soft rot if conditions that are more conducive to decay become common. (+info)
Musculoskeletal disorders are common in people who undertake adventure travel to the Antarctic, and in those who support them, because of the hard physical demands and lack of rest. This paper describes the successful use of acupuncture as first line treatment for ten patients in these circumstances, and comments on its advantages, particularly in its capacity to reduce the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. (+info)
The Spanish royal philanthropic expedition to bring smallpox vaccination to the New World and Asia in the 19th century.
The New World was ravaged by smallpox for several centuries after the Spanish conquest. Jenner's discovery of the smallpox vaccine made possible the prevention and control of smallpox epidemics. In response to a large outbreak of smallpox in the Spanish colonies, King Charles IV appointed Francisco Xavier de Balmis to lead an expedition that would introduce Jenner's vaccine to these colonies. During the journey, the vaccine was kept viable by passing it from arm to arm in orphaned children, who were brought along expressly for that purpose and remained under the care of the orphanage's director. This expedition was the first large scale mass vaccination of its kind. The historic legacy of this pioneering event in international health should be revisited in the current era of persistent inequalities in global health. (+info)
Cognitive deterioration associated with an expedition in an extreme desert environment.
BACKGROUND: Prolonged exposure to extreme environments may result in cognitive changes that may influence decision making ability and increasing risk of injury or death. OBJECTIVE: To measure the cognitive performance of a healthy man as he completed a 17 day desert expedition. METHOD: A computer based cognitive test battery, subjective cognitive rating scale, and measures of physical characteristics were used. Objective cognitive performance was compared with the performance of eight age matched men who remained in their own homes. RESULTS: The speed of psychomotor, attentional, and executive functions decreased as the expedition progressed, but the accuracy of performance remained unaffected. Although some impairments were large, they resolved completely once the expedition was completed. Subjective ratings indicated that the subject had insight into his failing cognitive performance during the expedition. CONCLUSIONS: Cognitive performance can be measured repeatedly throughout an expedition in an extreme environment. Cognitive impairment may occur. (+info)