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Teaching the physiology of adaptation to hypoxic stress with the aid of a classic paper on high altitude by Houston and Riley

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Description Many pathological conditions exist where tissues exhibit hypoxia or low oxygen tension. Hypoxic hypoxia arises when there is a reduction in the amount of oxygen entering the blood and occurs in healthy people at high altitude. In 1946, research sponsored by the United States Navy led to the collection and subsequent publication of masses of data demonstrating the physiological consequences and adaptations of ascent to high altitude. This article describes how a figure from a 1947 paper from the American Physiological Society Legacy collection (Houston CS, Riley RL. Respiratory and circulatory changes during acclimatization to high altitude. Am J Physiol 149: 565–588) may be used to allow students to review their understanding of some of the generalized effects of hypoxia on the body. In particular, this figure summarizes some of the adaptive responses that take place in the oxygen transport system as a consequence of prolonged hypoxia.
Type of Resource Journal Article/Issue
Format Web Page - HTM
E Tansey, Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine
Development Date December 19, 2007
Grade/Age Levels Undergraduate lower division (Grades 13-14)
Undergraduate upper division (Grades 15-16)
Continuing Education
Professional (degree program)
Learning Time <=1 hour
Language English
Type of Review Reviewed By Journal Board
Review Date Reviewed at time of publication
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