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8th European Hypoxia Symposium

The NATO MW COE (Mountain Warfare Centre of Excellence) in cooperation with the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Sport, hosted the 8th European Hypoxia Symposium  »High Altitude and Isobaric Hypoxia Influence on Human Performance« between 9 and 11 September 2016 in Poljče, Slovenia.

The participants were able to attend the scientific and professional presentations related to four main topics:

·   »High Altitude and Severe Hypoxia Session« which addressed the recent experience of authors related to different aspects of living and exercising (alpinist climbing) at high-altitude or in normobaric hypoxic conditions. For the first time some presentations related to topics of possible differences in hypoxic adaptations in children and adults. Certain clinical issues were presented, as well.

·    The »Mountains Warfare« session dealt with the recent and historical reviews of mountain warfare, definitions of mountains related to warfare in specific conditions, and specific experience on how to prevent mountain sickness in soldiers. The estimation of specific performance of soldiers during marching in mountains was also one of the topics.

·    »Moderate Altitude and Altitude Training« as a third session provided information about several strategies how to improve specific sport performance, specific adaptations related to intense endurance training and living in different environmental conditions.

·    »Other Topics related to Altitude« combined different discussions starting from technical issues related to normobaric hypoxia technology and to technical testing of climbing ropes quality. Specific interest focused on the possibility of marking relative exertion when walking in mountains. A very interesting and uncommon topic was related to diving at high altitude.

As the NATO MW COE continues to build up the wider Community of Interest with the intent to enhance a comprehensive approach towards the development of the Mountain Warfare capabilities and its interoperability, during the opening ceremony, on 9 September, a letter of cooperation was signed by the Dean of the Faculty of Sport Prof. Milan Žvan, Ph.D. and the Director of the NATO MW COE Colonel Boštjan Blaznik.

The day before the Symposium has started, some of the participants had also an opportunity to climb Mt. Triglav (with an elevation of 2864 m) which is the highest peak of the Julian Alps. The mountain is the pre-eminent symbol of the Slovene Nation. It is the centrepiece of the Triglav National Park, Slovenia’s only national park. The tour has been led by Prof. Stojan Burnik, Ph.D. in cooperation with the mountaineering instructors from the NATO MW COE.