Advancing The Science

Mayo Clinic Medical Science Blog

Archive for April 29th, 2012

A Poor Man's Oscar Speech

Posted on April 29th, 2012 by Admin

From Bryan Taylor, Ph.D.

So, here we are. Mount Everest base camp, 17,500 feet above sea level, blood oxygen saturation level of 70-80% (it's 95-100% at sea level), plus an elevated 
heart rate. Sleeping, poorly, in a tent at sub-zero temperatures on a
glacier that has shifted approximately 30 feet in the last month! Sounds like 
fun, huh? Well, actually, to us it is. The scenery is quite spectacular with rock falls and avalanches in the mountains around us (don't worry, we 
are all safe). Each morning the rising sun illuminates the staggering peaks 
around us. Breathtaking. We had an excellent first experimental testing day 
and looking forward to an even better one tomorrow. Somewhat miraculously all of our equipment arrived and we have set up a pretty cool environmental 

So far, so good. 
But as I sit here and reflect on our journey so far, I can't help but think 
of all the people back in the US (and the UK) without whom we would not be 
here. While we have been interviewed, filmed and photographed, there are a 
number of people who deserve so much credit for the current and, hopefully,
 continued success of this research expedition. So, here goes my poor man's
Oscar speech. First, enormous thanks must go to our lab mates back at the Clinic, in particular Andy Miller, Rob Wentz, Heidi Johng and Kathy
O'Malley. Their hard work and dedication to this project has been 
invaluable. For me personally, I have to thank Beth Cloud and Kristen Greek 
(physical therapists at Mayo) who "fixed my broken calf"; approximately 7 weeks ago a tear in my left calf had me in a walking boot and on crutches. 
Without their help I would not be here right now.

Obviously, our friends 
and family are continuously in our minds. Knowing that they love and care 
for us truly helps us get through the physical struggles of each day. For 
me, the support of my parents and sister back in Scotland is a continual 
source of strength. And my girlfriend, Michelle -- her unwavering support and 
dedication to me throughout this whole process is one of the main reasons I 
am here writing this blog right now. 
So thank you. Thank you all. Our current and future success is in great part due to all of you.

Dispatch from the Field (4-29-12)

Posted on April 29th, 2012 by Admin

Climber Cory Richards, who is resting safely in hospital, wanted us to clarify that his illness was not altitude sickness, but a diagnosis is still forthcoming. Updates on his situation will come first on the National Geographic site. 

After yesterday's disappointing news about Cory's evacuation, the team turned its focus to the job at hand, the testing that we came here to complete.

But as you might expect at extreme altitude and in some very unforgiving weather conditions, the equipment wasn't necessarily ready to cooperate.  But the research team wasn't about to let that slow them down too much.

In the photo below, Alex Kasak prepares to draw blood from Dr. Bruce Johnson.

It's an agressive schedule to try to run all the Mayo staff as well as the folks from The North Face and National Geographic through the paces, but it's going well.  And hopefully, with a little inginuity, we'll be able to get all the equipment working.