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do i have altitude sickness?
The Para Monte Team
University of Brighton
Dr Neil Maxwell

Dr Neil Maxwell is a Reader of Environmental Physiology at the University of Brighton.

Through his teaching, research and innovation, Neil aims to inspire health, occupational and sporting communities to engage in safe and effective exercise in environmental extremes.

He leads the Environmental Extremes Lab, providing altitude awareness through screening and education on behalf of Para-Monte.

His experience of altitude physiology has been enhanced by his own travels to altitude, mountaineering and trekking for over 20 years.

Gregor Eichhorn

He is currently a part-time PhD student at the University of Brighton, investigating how older versus younger populations acclimate to heat on a phenotypic and genotypic level.

Gregor Eichhorn finished his undergraduate degree in exercise physiology in Germany and subsequently started working in a performance centre with elite and sub-elite athletes in Switzerland. Continuing his education, he enrolled in the postgraduate course of Applied Exercise Physiology at the University of Brighton. Focusing on environmental physiology, his final project looked at the effects of inspiratory muscle training on performance in hypoxic conditions.

After completing his postgraduate degree, Gregor continued to work as an exercise physiologist and coach in Germany where he was able to support endurance athletes and teams from Norway, Switzerland.

As part of the Environmental Extremes Lab he is involved with Para-Monte through a research project looking at the susceptibility to altitude and if simple field tests can be a used as a screening tool to predict physiological changes to altitude. Additionally, he has helped Para-Monte-Ambassadors prepare for high-altitude treks or ultra-endurance events in extreme environments.

Dr Mark Hayes

Dr Mark Hayes is Deputy course Leader and Senior lecturer in Sport and Exercise Science teaching predominantly in the area of exercise, environmental and expedition physiology at the School of Sport and Service Management. A core member of the Environmental Extremes Lab, Mark is research active with work focusing on human tolerance to environmental extremes. He supervises students on projects with an emphasis on understanding how the human body responds to heat and hypoxia and how tolerance to these environmental stressors can be improved, so as to promote safe and effective exercise or working practices when individuals are exposed as part of their leisure or work to environmental extremes.

Having completed expeditions in Nepal and Africa and training courses in the Alps, Mark blends subject knowledge with applied experience and was an organizing member of the University’s Peru 2013 Learning Through Adventure Project that Para-Monte supported. This project provided twenty four University of Brighton students the opportunity to conduct volunteer work at a local primary school in Peru but also, research examining the responses of the human body to altitude exposure. The trip culminated in the students experiencing a four day altitude trek to Machu Picchu, but also publication in the Wilderness and Environmental Medicine Journal of the research study that examined whether a 6-minute walk test could be used to predict physiological responses and performance at altitude.

Continuing in this theme, Mark is now part of the supervisory team for two new PhD students focusing on understanding how the body responds to hypoxia and is currently contributing in the laboratory to the latest Para-Monte funded project examining whether the 6-minute walk test can be used as a screening tool for acute mountain sickness susceptibility.

Mark has provided consultancy services for a range of individuals in their preparation for events ranging from the Marathon Des Sables to Polar expeditions. A central theme in all of his work is how we can educate and inform individuals to be safe and prevent illness when exercising or working in environmental extremes and he is relishing the opportunity to continue to promote this message through the research collaboration with Para-Monte.