Letter to the editor: Data vital to understanding our lives at altitude | SummitDaily.com

Letter to the editor: Data vital to understanding our lives at altitude

Dr. Christine Ebert-Santos
Ebert Family Clinic

I was so interested to read the article about the new partnership between Centura and the University of Colorado opening the High Altitude Research Center in Summit County (High Altitude Research Center seeks to solve the mysteries of health at altitude, published June 27 in the Summit Daily News).

Long-term data on the effects of our hypoxic environment is badly needed. I know from my recent trip to La Paz, Bolivia, to attend a chronic hypoxia conference that 3 million people live at 13,000 feet and thrive with many benefits including a lower incidence of heart disease. The plan to have decades of follow-up will make these local studies unique, since our population is so new to altitude.

My experience shows the patience and persistence scientific research requires. Nine years passed between the time I first spoke about high-altitude resident pulmonary edema in children living here and its publication in the Journal of High Altitude Medicine and Biology. We have been analyzing growth data on children at altitude for 15 years, and I received some exciting graphs this morning from my partners at the University of Minnesota Department of Epidemiology. When this is published, parents will no longer be told they are “not feeding their baby” and their little one shows signs of “failure to thrive.”

Our clinic was contacted by Tatum Simonson, Ph.D, from University of California San Diego to partner with us for a study on genetics of intermediate altitude in conjunction with the University of Heidelberg.

This is so vital to understanding our lives in the mountains. This is why we publish observations, interviews, anecdotes and articles gleaned from the literature for immediate access in the community as well as our own original research, hopefully preventing health problems for many.

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