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The British Services Dhaulagiri Medical Research Expedition 2016: a unique military and civilian research collaboration
  1. Adrian Mellor1,2,
  2. J Bakker-Dyos1,
  3. M Howard1,
  4. C Boos2,3,
  5. M Cooke2,
  6. E Vincent1,
  7. P Scott1,
  8. J O'Hara2,
  9. S B Clarke2,4,
  10. M Barlow2,
  11. J Matu2,
  12. K Deighton2,
  13. N Hill1,
  14. C Newman1,
  15. R Cruttenden5,
  16. D Holdsworth1,6 and
  17. D Woods1,2
  1. 1Defence Medical Services, DMS Whittington, Lichfield, UK
  2. 2Research Institute for Sport, Physical Activity and Leisure, Leeds Beckett University, Leeds, UK
  3. 3Poole Hospital NHS Trust, Poole, UK
  4. 4School of Health and Human Performance, Northern Michigan University, Marquette, Michigan, USA
  5. 5Leeds University Medical School, Leeds, UK
  6. 6Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, Oxford University, Oxford, UK
  1. Correspondence to Surg Cdr Adrian Mellor, Cardiothoracic Outpatients, James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough TS4 3BW, UK; Doctoramellor{at}


Introduction High-altitude environments lead to a significant physiological challenge and disease processes which can be life threatening; operational effectiveness at high altitude can be severely compromised. The UK military research is investigating ways of mitigating the physiological effects of high altitude.

Methods The British Service Dhaulagiri Research Expedition took place from March to May 2016, and the military personnel were invited to consent to a variety of study protocols investigating adaptation to high altitudes and diagnosis of high-altitude illness. The studies took place in remote and austere environments at altitudes of up to 7500 m.

Results This paper gives an overview of the individual research protocols investigated, the execution of the expedition and the challenges involved. 129 servicemen and women were involved at altitudes of up to 7500 m; 8 research protocols were investigated.

Conclusions The outputs from these studies will help to individualise the acclimatisation process and inform strategies for pre-acclimatisation should troops ever need to deploy at high altitude at short notice.

  • High altitude
  • High Altitude Medicine
  • Wilderness Medicine
  • Acclimatisation

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  • Contributors AM, DW, JB-D and JO'H drafted the manuscript. All authors contributed to the development of protocols and data collection both in the UK and Nepal. All authors reviewed final manuscript before submission. AM and DW revised manuscript.

  • Competing interests AM has received an honorarium for talking at a Medtronic meeting. The Reveal LINQ devices used in one study described were provided free of charge by Medtronic.

  • Ethics approval Ministry of Defence Research Ethics Committee.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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