Mountaineers May Suffer Brain Damage

High summits ‘could harm brain’

According to an article published on the BBC’s website dated 19/10/08, mountaineers may suffer brain damage. Is this actually any surprise? How many times have you trudged up a mountain in the Lake District, North Wales, Scotland or elsewhere in the pouring rain with zero visibility, your hands and feet are cold, the wind is biting, your legs are aching, despite owning quality waterproofs you are still wet and maybe you’ve got blisters too? And you’re doing this for fun. And you claim that you don’t have brain damage? Come on!

But seriously…
We’re not talking about the little mountains in the UK. According to Dr Mike Grocott of University College London

Most climbers are aware that if you are going over 8,000 metres, there may be a small amount of damage to the brain associated with that

Mountaineers have had MRI scans before and after ascents up some of the world’s tallest mountains and the research has shown that there has been changes in the brain tissue. This has been attributed to the lower amounts of oxygen at higher altitudes. Fortunately the mountaineers did not suffer any significant neuropsychological changes.


One thought on “Mountaineers May Suffer Brain Damage

  1. I can totally understand why they might think this.

    Whilst traveling through China I tackled a 4,500m+ mountain near Decin, on the Tibetan plateux.

    My girlfriend was on the back of a donkey whilst I jogged behind! (I was looking for fitness fix at the time). This ‘jog’ though left my brain feeling like it was being crushed my vision a little odd and gasping for air at 4000m.

    I kept stopping to give my brain enough Oxygen but the pressure was colossal – but really stupidly I carried on. Stupid!

    The worst decision I made was to keep going, and even worse again was that I insisted that my girlfriend carry on whilst I rested, and that I would take a more direct route rather than the winding path. I naturally made my way to the top, along the face of the glacier and waited….but she didn’t come up. We found each other after walking up and down the last hour of trail for quite some time, but how stupid can you get. Never split-up! Stupid!

    Ever since that day I have had random nose bleeds, and could have put my brain at more serious risk.

    Really, really, be careful at altitude, and stay together!

    Ben, admin


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