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Demystifying Medicine 2019 - Mount Everest and K2: Too Little and Too Much Oxygen

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Air date: Tuesday, February 19, 2019, 4:00:00 PM
Time displayed is Eastern Time, Washington DC Local
Views: Total views: 330, (180 Live, 150 On-demand)
Category: Demystifying Medicine
Runtime: 01:41:31
Description: Demystifying Medicine Lecture Series

Approximately 2 billion years ago, a poisonous gas emerged on Earth that wiped out most organisms and sent others deep underground. That gas was oxygen, O2, and within a geological wink of an eye, through processes poorly understood, oxygen gas levels rose from near zero to 20 percent of the atmosphere. The freely available oxygen gave way to the evolution of most visible life seen today.

Yet while oxygen is crucial for human life, too much will kill you. Breathing 100-percent oxygen for long periods damages the lungs and brain; and aging itself may be the result of slow oxygen poisoning, better known as oxidation and free-radical formation.

For this lecture in the Demystifying Medicine series, we bring you speakers who have seen the dangers of too little and too much oxygen. Mountaineer-scientist Louis Reichardt is the first American to have reached the summits of both Mt. Everest and K2 (only 200 meters shorter than Everest). Reichardt will present first-hand accounts of climbing without supplemental oxygen above the "death zone" of 8,000 meters and the subsequent risk of hallucinations, blurred vision, and loss of bodily functions. Then we hear from our old friend Toren Finkel, who left the NIH in 2017 to become the director of the University of Pittsburgh Aging Institute. Finkel studies how oxygen metabolism, mitochondrial function, and autophagy regulate mammalian aging. His lab also is developing novel small molecules that may slow or even reverse aspects of aging and may therefore be of benefit for treating a wide array of age-related diseases.

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Author: Louis Reichardt, PhD, Simons Foundation and Toren Finkel MD, PhD, University of Pittsburgh
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CIT Live ID: 30265
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