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Having never previously ventured on land above 1000 metres, an unacclimatised Sophia should not have been surprised to experience a bit of a headache near the summit of the Matterhorn a few years ago. A review in the N Engl J Med (2013;368:2294–302) provides a summary of the spectrum of acute high altitude illnesses. In addition to discussing prevention strategies, the authors consider the management of high altitude cerebral oedema, pulmonary oedema and acute mountain sickness. Whatever the role of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, acetazolamide, dexamethasone and nifedipine, the most important emergency treatment still involves rapid descent as soon as possible.
The worldwide death toll from earthquakes has been estimated to have been almost 2 million in the 20th century, with many more individuals suffering non-lethal injuries. By their very nature, it is difficult to ascertain the exact numbers of victims in earthquake disasters. Researchers from Baltimore investigated the injury …