25 January 2018

Task Force Annual Report - High Altitude

2017 report


Scientific and Educational Events

The Atacama-Leh Conference

Max Gassmann, Norbert Weissmann, and other colleagues, have shouldered the organisation of this conference which will be held at San Pedro de Atacama, Chile, from 4 to 9 March 2018. The details of this event have been published on the PVRI website. A number of distinguished researchers will participate in this three-day event. It covers a wide range of topics involving high altitude (HA) physiology, pulmonary hypertension (PH) and other respiratory diseases. Find out more about this event.

Leh Symposium at Gangtok, Sikkim

There has been a persistent demand to organise a Leh Symposium in India so that local physicians have an opportunity to meet, interact and learn from national and international experts. This also serves the fundamental mandate of the PVRI in energising the development of scientific interest within the Himalayan regions.
Also, these physicians seldom have the opportunity to attend any international conference outside India due to the paucity of funds. Hence, a suggestion was made to organise the symposium in India and to invite distinguished experts.

In view of persistent demands, the organisation of the next Leh symposium has been scheduled for October 2018 in Gangtok, Sikkim, India. However, the World Congress of ISMM, scheduled for November 2018 at Kathmandu Nepal has suggested moving the symposium to early March/April 2019. Gangtok is situated at an altitude of approximately 7000ft in the Himalayas. One can enjoy the mighty Kanchenjunga, the second highest peak and several other high peaks in the vicinity. The Atacama and Leh symposium very well serve the regional groups.

ISAM 2018 Pattaya, Thailand. 18 to 21 July 2018 - PH & HA sessions:
The founding director and main organiser of 12th World Congress of ISAM (International Society for Adaptive Medicine), Prof Dr Pawan Singal, has invited Dr Qadar Pasha, India, to organise a session on either PH or HA disorders. Dr Pasha has invited 8-10 experts in this field to participate.

In addition, there was active participation in the 4th Congress of the Asian-Pacific Society for Mountain Medicine, Matsumoto, Japan, on 2-4 June, 2017. It was a pleasure to meet so many international colleagues and discuss the ongoing HA research. We also discussed the forthcoming World Congress of ISMM.

Research activities

Two young scholars visited SNM Hospital at Leh and worked for two months in consultation (close proximity) with Dr Tashi Thinlas and Dr Ghulam Mohammad, both senior physician consultants at SNM hospital Leh, to understand the intricacies of one of the HA disorders, namely High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE). They came across approximately 50 cases of HAPE. Dr Tashi Thinlas taught the basics of the disorder, including the overall care of the patients.
The research has also helped in the collection of precious blood samples from HAPE patients, healthy sojourners and the highland natives. It made available plasma, DNA and RNA samples that will be highly instrumental in ongoing research activities.

It would be pleasure to share these precious samples with members of our HA Task Force and even other colleagues. If they wish to share these samples for their research, they are most welcome to visit IGIB lab, avail the facilities and the samples to perform their research experiments.

Guiding international patients suffering with PH, who reach out to the PVRI for help

PVRI has gained global recognition and respect as many Asian patients reach out to them for guidance. The PVRI has been highly instrumental in coordinating such patients to one of the High Altitude and India Task Force leaders, who in turn guide these patients to the most appropriate clinicians in the country. This has been a remarkable task that PVRI has been performing; a great humanitarian help! 

PVRI International Scientific projects evaluation

The HA Task Force members participated as project evaluation team members for PVRI’s two project grants namely, the BMPR2 research grant, and the Basic and Clinical Research Fellowship grant. It was such a pleasure going through the proposals. Each contestant’s concept was so great; it was a difficult task to select the best two. 

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