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July 13, 1984

Medicine at a Glance

JAMA. 1984;252(2):187. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03350020003003

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Adaptation on High:  After two years of analyzing data, members of the first expedition to climb the 8,848-m Mt Everest in Nepal for medical research (JAMA [MEDICAL NEWS] 1982;247:1237, 1981; 246:589, 1979;241:1446) say that, at high altitude, breathing accelerates to five or six times the normal rate at sea level, the blood becomes more alkaline, and there is weight loss with reduction in both fat and muscle mass.John B. West, MD, PhD, University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, said changes in body chemistry from long-term exposure to a relatively low-oxygen environment indicate a potential for severe derangement of body function. The respiratory system adapts, he said, but bloodoxygen levels declined in climbers reaching the summit to levels similar to those in patients with emphysema or chronic bronchitis.—P. G.

Beta Blocker for Early MI:  Metoprolol tartrate, which became available in the United States six years ago for treating