Washington: Researchers have decoded the genetic basis of chronic mountain sickness (CMS) or Monge`s disease.Their study provides important information that validates the genetic basis of adaptation to high altitudes, and provides potential targets for CMS treatment. More than 140 million people have permanently settled on high-altitude regions, on continents ranging from African and Asia to South America. The low-oxygen conditions at such high altitudes present a challenge for survival, and these geographically distinct populations have adapted to cope with hypoxia, or low levels of oxygen in the blood.Interestingly, many humans living at high elevations, particularly in the Andes mountain region of South America, are maladapted and suffer CMS. The disease is characterized by an array of neurologic symptoms, including headache, fatigue, sleepiness and depression.
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