BMRES-BMMS Conference 2021
Date: 11 September, 2021
Location: 8 Calthrope Road, Birmingham, UK, B15 1QT.
Abstract Submission Deadline: 18 August, 2021.
By Luke Cutts and Benjamin Stanley.
The conference was organised by the BMRES and the British Medical Mountaineers Society (BMMS). The day began with coffee and happy catch-ups with many not having met in person for a long time because of Covid. Professor Chris Imray opened with a warm welcome, expressing his delight at being able to bump shoulders and shake hands with everyone. There followed reports and updates from several UK organisations. Dr Sarah Wysling gave an update on BMMS and a reminder of the services they provide which was very useful for the newer members of the society. John Delamere reviewed BMRES activities over the past 18 months, outlining recent research and plans for the delayed expedition to the Annapurna region in 2022. We were reminded of the ongoing pandemic when the APEX team from the University of Edinburgh joined us virtually through Microsoft Teams. They provided an update to their planned and again, much delayed expedition to Bolivia. There were also presentations by members from Leeds Metropolitan University, the University of South Wales and the University of Bangor. The session was rounded off with a talk on MedEx, focusing on their especially useful booklet, ‘Travel at high altitude’.
After a coffee break and further catch-ups, Prof Jo Bradwell gave an enlightening and highly entertaining presentation on the history of the BMRES. This focused both on the fascinating places visited by the group and on the pioneering discoveries which have been made, focussing particularly on the benefits of acetazolamide at altitude.
The morning was then rounded off with two engaging presentations on altitude physiology. First, Jonathan Moore discussed the control of blood pressure at altitude then Peter Baersch joined remotely to discuss high altitude pulmonary oedema much based on his studies at the Margherita hut.
After lunch, during the poster viewing session, we had the opportunity to catch up with recent research developments from individual members. This was proceeded by eight, four slide in four-minute presentations which can be equated to scientific speed dating! The prize-winning presentation by Dr Catherine Campbell, ‘Assessing the environmental impact of medical field-based research’ sparked a welcomed group discussion on the impact of medical expeditions and how pollution can be minimised. One key suggestion was to utilise the Sports Science’s hypoxia chamber for the majority of research and only having expeditions for large-scale projects. This led on to BMRES members pledging to offset the carbon emissions of future expeditions through an accountable and sustainable UK-based afforestation scheme.
The stimulating environmental conversation led onto Prof Philip Meredith who spoke about the history of the Alpine Club, founded in 1857 and the first of its type in the world. Earlier this year the club launched an expedition called ‘Women Rise Up’. It involved an expedition to iconic European peaks including the Matterhorn, the Wiesshorn and the Dent Blanche, walking in the footsteps of Lucy Walker and Meta Brevoort 150 years ago.
After the prize giving ceremony for the best poster and best 4×4 slide presentation, Dr Jeremy Windsor gave a thought-provoking talk about deaths on Everest. This gave great insight into the multifactorial nature of the many tragic deaths. We were particularly interested in the interplay between climbers’ personalities and their risk-taking behaviour, which gave a great understanding of the hazards we face when mountaineering.
The conference finished with vascular surgeon Professor Chris Imray inspiring us with his climbing experiences on the Seven Summits (the highest peaks of each continent). Chris is one of under a thousand climbers to have completed the full set. The talk was encouraging to many medical students and junior doctors in the room who wish to have a mountaineering career alongside their medical duties.
Like all fantastic events, they must come to an end. Professor Jo Bradwell closed the meeting, commenting on his delight to see everyone face to face. Particular thanks were given to the organisers, Alex Wright, Amy Cogswell and Jeremy Winsor for a most enjoyable occasion which was followed by a wonderful meal on the top floor of the building overlooking the city centre.
Formats for presentations included:
To view the provisional programme, download the document below.
For additional details about the conference or to share this information, please download the flyer below.