The Pulse (cont.)

Feb 1, 2006
Outside Magazine

Climbers have long known that high-altitude pulmonary edema (HAPE)—a potentially fatal condition in which the lungs fill with fluid at altitudes above 10,000 feet—can occur if they ascend too high, too fast. But a study published last October in The Journal of Applied Physiology documented how any intense exercise performed by, say, weekend visitors to Vail or a mountain biker at 10,000 feet can also induce HAPE-like conditions, even if they're not gaining altitude. Researchers took lung-fluid samples from eight elite triathletes and cyclists who cranked through short intervals on stationary bikes at both sea level and then, after acclimatizing for 24 hours, at 12,500 feet. The samples taken at altitude showed that bursting capillaries inside the subjects' lungs—early evidence of HAPE—had increased tenfold from the amount at sea level. To lessen the risk, study author Dr. Marlowe Eldridge, of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, recommends acclimatizing for a minimum of three days before pushing your body to the max.

Want to lose weight? Try having someone tell you that sugar makes you sick. It may work, says psychologist Elizabeth Loftus, a memory specialist at the University of California at Irvine. In a study, Loftus pretended to analyze the diets of 228 college students, then delivered the same lie to each subject—that, as youngsters, they had become ill from eating fattening foods like ice cream or cookies—to see what would happen. The fib was swallowed by nearly half of the participants, most of whom were less inclined to eat those foods.

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