Previously, several new hypotheses that geographic altitude, through its complex beneficial mechanisms were proposed by our research scientist, Dr. Rovshan Ismailov, MD MPH PhD. We all heard stories about very old men and even centenarians who reached longevity records by living in high altitudes areas such as mountains of Tibet. The most recent example, the story about a man from Bolivia who is now 123 years old and he lives in the mountains at an altitude of more than 12,000 feet. Dr. Ismailov’s groundbreaking research articles published in several prestigious journals such as “Annals of Neurology” (the official journal of American Neurological Association), “American Heart Journal”, “Alzheimer Disease and Associate Disorders”, “Medical Hypothesis”, “Journal of Medical Hypotheses and Ideas” etc. suggests that rates of Alzheimer’s Disease, heart failure and stroke, are substantially lower in the “mountain” states as compared to “lowland” states of the US. One of the possible explanations is a hormone naturally released by human kidney in response to human presence in the high altitude area called erythropoietin and also known as EPO so that overall the higher altitude is the more of this hormone is released by kidneys. Of course, there are other important mechanisms such as higher sun exposure in the mountain area (and, therefore, higher vitamin D level in human organism) that should be considered.
Overall, the mechanisms of such beneficial effects of high altitude are complex and should be further investigated in our prospective studies. For example:
Our prospective projects concern if high altitude affects such important health concerns as Parkinson’s disease; whether high altitude affects men and women diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease differently etc. Another direction is to examine whether those who are injured in the high altitude area are less likely to develop complications. For instance, those who have traumatic brain injury (head concussion) may have lower rates of stroke or depression if an accident occurred in the mountains compared to lowland area. This may open up new avenues for treatment as well as identify “optimal” geographic altitudes for prevention, treatment and rehabilitation for injured patients. Finally, we need to examine certain negative aspects of high altitude.
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Did you know that life expectancy in the United States has declined? It happened again following last year's decline and for the first time in more than two decades!
Did you also know that the oldest man on Earth (who is now 123) lives in the mountains at an altitude of more than 12,000 feet?
But did you also know that previous large population-based studies found that residents of areas situated at 1500 m or above have longer life expectancy as compared to those who reside at sea level.
Read more about our research on aging and altitude. Answers that are yet to be found!
CMDAT stands for Complex Mechanisms of Disease, Aging and Trauma.
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