Sunday, February 17, 2013

Dive Medicine in Sipadan Borneo!

Joe Alcock MD of Mountain and Marine Medicine is once again joining the faculty of Long Beach Memorial Hyperbaric Department to host an extraordinary dive medicine conference in an amazing location, Sipadan.

Sipadan was recently featured in the New York Times. I would strongly recommend reading that piece if you are considering your next dive adventure. (photo above

We are going to the same place, noted as a biodiversity hotspot and a gem of protected reef ecology. We are not going to miss this amazing opportunity to see one of the world's last best coral places, and I hope you do not either.

Mountain and Marine Medicine and Long Beach Memorial Hyperbaric Department have a well-known track record of visiting some of the world's most incredible dive sites, including the Philippines in 2012, Curacao in 2010, Fiji in 2009, Roatan Honduras in 2008, Bonaire in 2007, Kailua Kona Hawaii in 2006 and 2005, and much more... I will post photos from those previous trips soon.

Meanwhile, click here to check out the flyer for this year's upcoming trip!

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Marine and Hyperbaric Medicine in the Phillipines

Mountain and Marine Medicine is excited to help present a new Dive Medicine CME program in combination with Long Beach Memorial hospital. Our next course is scheduled to take place in the Phillippines.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Preparing for Austere Situations

Our folks at MMM are constantly training for whatever environment we will encounter on any of our trips, be it in the mountains, desert, or ocean. We took our wilderness medicine group in Taos under a sketchy snowpack to ski and train. This week we are headed to the desert for some different training, including helping man medical stations at the Bataan Death March Marathon in White Sands, NM. Take a look at our student page on the right to keep up with some of these exciting activities!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Training in the heat works, if you are careful!

I am putting the survival medicine training into practice as I type from Haiti. Sorry, no photos, but will say that, despite 95 degree HUMID heat, the training previously described has worked. I got to train with the 82nd Airborne last night, doing a nice, hot workout. Thirty minutes was good, and I made sure I took in plenty of water and lytes. There have been some previous workers who got heat illnesses-we found that many of these individuals had increased body mass indices. So, the key is to take it slowly, and monitor yourself and your water. Signing off now-orevwa!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Survival Medicine?

Hi folks, seems like I am going to a non-mountainous environment-Haiti. The Anderson Coopers and Sanjay Guptas have left, yet there is still medical needs. How does one prepare for an austere, tropical environment such as this? Hard to say. Many working with me in the DMAT and IMSuRT teams have become ill from heat illness, maybe being a bit on the high end of the BMI scale, and consequent cardiopulmonary problems. Though fortunate to have been in horrifically humid environments, I still cannot exactly predict how this will go. As Louis Pasteur said, "Chance favors the prepared mind." Well, mental is 90% of this-being compassionate to the suffering, working many hours, being in a state of privation-and heat.

For those of you planning on joining us for any of our excursions, physical preparation is not only a good idea, but also necessary for survival, and a modicum of confidence. For a few weeks, my regimen has been similar to Mark Twight's "Gym Jones" training regimen-pretty tough workouts with weights and kettlebells (not sure if I will be lifting concrete, but why not be ready?), with half the workout in a steam room. As I write this, I feel sick to my stomach. Yet I have adapted well. Humans adapt very well to altitude and muscular exertion, and pretty well to heat; we do not really adapt well physiologically to cold, and not at all to dysbaric diving stress. Briefly, let's discuss the benefits of heat training.

With heat, our cellular proteins become undone with the unfolding of amino acids, eventualy leading to cell death. Heat shock proteins, built up with time in heat, attempt to refold the protein, restoring its bundled structure and protecting the cell. Enzymes are also saved with the protective heat shock protein-the enzyme is therefore not unraveled. Heat shock protein 70 is the most well studied. When the body temperature climbs a few degrees, large amounts of the protein are produced.

Macroscopically, cardiac output increases with an increase in peripheral vasodilatation, allowing sweat to occur. Initially the sweat is not as profuse as later, and salt is excreted. With time, salt is preserved, and a dilute sweat is produced. Hopefully, the sweat will cool the skin via convective wind current: it is more difficult to cool down without wind, and basically impeded with humid environments, which will make it seem hotter ("heat index"). Thus, it is imperative to avoid working in daylight heat, and take work slowly. Avoid fats and eat carbohydrates; and if planning a trip, trim excess body weight. Note that there are not to many rotund folks who live in the jungle-they are thin, and often, larger people succumb to a tropical environment. And please, drink PURIFIED water; a diarrheal illness will dehydrate and kill you!

Don't tell yourself that this lesson doesn't apply to you as you make your way up the Khumbu icefall, either. Temperatures can reach 100 degrees F there, too. So, in whatever environment you are going to, train hard, and train smart. Take your time; let those little proteins develop and do their work. And I will let you know if my crazy training paid off.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Zermatt Switzerland!

Mountain and Marine Medicine is going to the Matterhorn this summer! We had such a fantastic time in Chamonix France in 2007 that we decided to go back to the same neighborhood. Switzerland is known for its exceptional hospitality! And the mountain beckons...

go to and click on the contact us section for more information.

Joe Alcock MD MS FAAEM

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Rainer Redux!

This is a photo from our very successful Mt. Rainier CME course on High Altitude Medicine from last summer. We are hosting the course again with the sponsorship of the Wilderness Medical Society this summer. The course will be at the lovely Nisqually Lodge in Ashford Washington. Dates of the course are: July 21 through July 24th, 2009. A guided climb of Mt Rainier will be offered following the CME course!
contact us for information.
Course Details
Contact Mountain & Marine Medicine

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Avalanche Awareness & Video Link!

This video is a graphic description of both the allure of backcountry skiing and the risk to those who tempt steep powder slopes!

We are going to post this as a permanent link at our sister site:

Great video, Thanks Diane for the link!

Joe Alcock MD

Saturday, July 19, 2008

What to bring to Rainier

As I am winding my way up to Seattle via Colorado and Wyoming, the Rockies have been warm. August will be nice at Rainier, too. But don't relax...bring mountain clothes!

For those NOT climbing, I recommend:

Jacket and waterproof or water resistant shell; rainjacket
Layers of clothing for upper body and pants (possible water resistant pant shell as well)-from material that wicks the sweat away from the body
Warm hat and a cap
Sunglasses, sunblock or the like
Sturdy pants for outings, hiking boots or sturdy trail shoes
Daypack, water container
Warm socks
Thermal underwear
Writing implements
Personal medical kit: blister kit, ibuprofen/Tylenol, tape, personal meds; acetazolamide (if tolerated) if going up high and you have a history of acute mountain sickness)
Hint: for activewear, I avoid cotton, opting for Coolmax or similar clothing. Nothing worse than wearing your sweat when a blast of cold air blows in from Alaska!

Since we are hoping to take a hike to a snowfield (time permitting), in addition to the above, you may ALSO want to bring these as options (but don't knock yourself out in buying these if you don't have):
Crampons, snow climbing boots on which the crampons fit
Long ice axe
Trekking poles
Climbing harness, locking carabiner (large)
Climbing helmet
Duct tape
A Release waiver (see website)-this outing is not required as part of the course!

For climbers, consult the IMG website ( I am leaving the cannister of oxygen at home, but bringing, in addition to all the above:
Down jacket
Insulated winter gloves (waterproof) and and EXTRA PAIR!
Plastic bags (for trash, and for vapor barrier liners)
Glacier glasses
Rope (for 2)
Prusiks or jumars
extra cord/cordelettes and extra carabiners
Sleeping bag, bivy sac, insulated foam pad/Thermarest equivalent
Tent (four season), groundcloth/tarp
Implements and small stove for cooking, food
Survival kit (map, compass or GPS, knife, fire starter, chocolate bars or glucose gels, cell phone, signal mirror (on my compass), HEADLAMP with extra batteries
Shovel, avy beacon, probe

Happy packing


Monday, July 14, 2008

High Altitude Medicine Course at Mt. Rainier National Park

Mountain & Marine Medicine is pleased to report that our upcoming course at Mt Rainier National Park is nearly Sold Out!

If you are on the fence about coming, now is the time to send in your payment or pay online.

We have great group of participants with a diverse background. There will be plenty of opportunities for great conversations, starting on July 31
at the Nisqually Lodge.

Bob Quinn MD at ,as always, is available to give details about the optional climb of Mt. Rainier immediately following the course. Don't miss this special event.

PS. The photo is from our climb last summer of Mont Blanc in France, not Rainier!