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Adventure Patrol

Adventure Patrol

Join Dr. Mike on adventure trips of a lifetime. This famed physician, author and expert in expedition medicine will open up new worlds for us to explore.


Fasten your seat belts!

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  1. A Barrel Full of Monkeys

    A Barrel Full of Monkeys

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    Wildlife encounters, whether intended or not, are often a highlight on travel.  While significant precautions are emphasized for large animals, it is generally obvious to keep a safe distance.  But what about some of those cute smaller animals that seem harmless?  Doesn’t everyone want to pet that cute little monkey in the tree outside your hut? Not so fast….    

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  2. Dr. Mike

    Adventure Patrol

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    Join Dr. Mike on adventure trips of a lifetime. This famed physician, author and expert in expedition medicine will open up new worlds for us to explore.


    Fasten your seat belts!

    Learn More
  3. African Ancestors!  Amazing New Discovery!

    African Ancestors! Amazing New Discovery!

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    Africa has long been known as the site of from which modern man first radiated out to populate the world. Much attention has been directed to the eastern African Great Rift Valley as the origin of humans, great apes, and chimps (hominids) but several candidates as the actual ancestor of humans (hominins) are likely evolutionary dead ends.  The attention has shifted within the last decade to new important fossil discoveries in South Africa that may fill in some of the gaps in the family tree…..which looks more and more like a bush.

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  4. Antarctica glacier.  Note small zodiac which I was in at base of glacier in the water.  These are huge.  (Photo by Michael J. Manyak)

    Antarctica: A Great Place to go in Winter

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    The last thing those in the throes of the winter deep freeze think about is going to a place with more snow and ice.  People north of the equator think of going south.  But what if you went WAY south to a land where the wind-chill factor was conceived and snow and ice are daily companions?  Sounds crazy, but I can assure you that you are in for a spectacular experience if you head to Antarctica.  Seasons are opposite south of the equator so the middle of winter in the northern hemisphere is the height of “summer” in our most remote continent. It almost gets up to freezing!  Let me share my experience in Antarctica as the medical officer on an icebreaker taking 100 high school students and 9 scientists to do experiments. 

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  5. Bothrops atrox.  From web   siteslab.byu.edu

    Deadly Snake Bite

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    One great fear for travelers in tropical or semi-tropical climates is a venomous snake bite.  Though relatively rare, venomous snake bites do account for about 40,000 deaths worldwide, many of them in rural areas of underdeveloped countries.  Pit vipers are the source of many bites but most have low death rates.  Although all snake bites are potentially dangerous, highly venomous snakes require urgent and specific attention.  I was contacted to assist with just such a snake bite right before Christmas.

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  6. Bay’aka pygmies making poison arrows.

    Heart of Darkness

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    What is your worst nightmare for travel?  One of mine is being caught in deepest Africa in a coup……and that is what happened on my expedition to the Central African Republic (CAR).  It is time to tell this tale again with the recent unrest in CAR eerily reminiscent of my experiences several years ago. 

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  7. Lizard Bites & Street Riots: Travel Emergencies and Your Health, Safety, and Security

    Lizard Bites & Street Riots: Travel Emergencies and Your Health, Safety, and Security

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    Stocking Stuffer – Don’t Leave Home Without It!!

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  8. Treatment of a traveler after a bad fall in the Andes.( Courtesy of Michael Manyak, MD)

    MINIMIZE YOUR RISK ON TRAVEL: MEDICAL EVACUATION INSURANCE FOR REMOTE TRAVEL

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    You are making flight arrangements for that special trip: an exotic locale, an adventure tour, or a scientific expedition.  Maybe someplace featured in these very pages!  Your immediate excitement has been tempered by sobering thoughts of health and safety.  You have searched the internet for travel advisory information about your developing world destination.  The travel agent may have been to the area but probably stayed in a nice hotel in the capital city.  You will stay there but have plans for a journey to see the temples in rural areas where accommodations are likely lower standard.   You have been advised to sign up for travel insurance but you are inundated with confusing choices about insurance.   There is just the usual generic advice about the site - drink only bottled water, get immunization for hepatitis and meningitis, have a tetanus shot within the last 10 years, eat only well-cooked food.  Your local physician has little experience with travel medicine.  Information about local health resources is non-existent or unreliable.  Geopolitical information resources say the area is reasonably stable but there has been sporadic violent insurgent activity in rural areas for years and travel is advised with caution.  Zika virus has been reported in the adjacent country.  What should you do to prepare for your travel safety?  

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  9.  Hand.  Photo credit IMGUR, an online image sharing community

    Nothing Burns Like the Cold!1

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    While many in the Northern Hemisphere cannot avoid winter exposure, others actively seek outdoor activities on skis, snowmobiles, or ice fishing.  Paramount to your comfort and safety is prevention and treatment of cold-related injuries.  Frostbite is the one that most consider but non-freezing cold injuries also occur.  Respiratory problems are caused from cold air by increasing secretions and decreasing pulmonary function. 

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  10. Courtesy of Peter Hess, Steven Schwankert, Rohan Wolfe

    Scuba Diving in Mongolia

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    Scuba diving in Mongolia?  Wait a minute, isn’t that a landlocked country in the middle of Asia with the Gobi Desert covering a significant part of it? 

     

     

    Yes indeed.   However, a large lake on the northern border adjacent to Siberia offered just such an opportunity. 

     

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  11. Surviving an Avalanche

    Surviving an Avalanche

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    It looks like a banner year for snowfall in the west and skiers and snowmobilers will flock to the slopes and trails.  The major considerations for boomers who indulge in winter outdoor sports are aerobic and muscular conditioning, avoidance of hypothermia and frostbite, and fear of joint injuries.  Not often on the radar screen is another danger….avalanche.  

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  12. Boarding submersible for dive to the Titanic

    The Titanic Salvage Expedition - Part 2: Diving the Titanic

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    The salvage expedition to the Titanic was intended to have a dive by each of the MIR Submersibles daily for about 3 weeks.  Unfortunately, a hurricane in the area significantly limited dives to a total of 10 so I was extremely fortunate to join one of them.  More people have flown in space than have gone to the Titanic.

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  13. The seven deck AM Keldysh, the Russian marine research vessel from which the submersibles were deployed.

    The Titanic Salvage Expedition: Part 1 Surviving the Trip

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    Hurricane Matthew which recently devastated Haiti and hit the eastern US coast bears witness that hurricane season can bring disaster to the best of plans.  I am often asked to name my favorite expedition and my usual answer is “the next one”.  But it is hard to top a very unique experience of some years ago when I was the medical officer for the Titanic salvage expedition. This entailed a 4 week expedition in the North Atlantic during which the submersibles you have seen in the movies were deployed to search for artifacts.  Although very occasional high-priced tourist trips have visited the site, there have only been a couple of dives which retrieved artifacts.  

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  14. The Wild Camel Expedition

    The Wild Camel Expedition

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    The wild camel (Camelus ferus) is a critically endangered animal residing in very remote and inhospitable areas of Mongolia and parts of China adjacent to or in the Gobi Desert.  There are less than 1000 surviving with numbers declining each year due to environmental and human pressures.  Scientists at the Institute of Population Genetics at the University of Veterinary Medicine in Vienna have recently confirmed the two-humped wild camel to be a separate species from the domestic two-humped Bactrian or single-humped Dromedary camels.  Their ancestral lineage diverged from the common ancestors of current camels 700,000 years before current camel species developed.  

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  15. Dr. Manyak on the Tiputini

    Visit the Enchanted Forest

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    Ecuador is a small gem of a country with picturesque Quito nestled in the Andes bisecting the unique Galapagos Islands and some of the most biodiverse rainforest in the world.  A recent site visit to the easternmost part of the Ecuadorian Amazon exposed me to the amazing flora and fauna of this ecosystem, now under increasing pressure to be developed because of its oil reserves.  Searching for a suitable site to send nationally-selected Eagle Scouts for the National Eagle Scout Association (NESA), Tiputini seemed to be a great destination. Long experience with expedition medicine required some advance reconnaissance for me to assure safety.     

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  16. ZIKA – The Latest Emerging Virus

    ZIKA – The Latest Emerging Virus

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    Just when you have gotten over the Ebola scare (though you will hear about it again), here comes another viral infection though spread by mosquitoes.  Zika virus was first identified in Uganda in 1947 in monkeys and the first verified human infection occurred in 1968.  Since then it has smoldered in countries near the equator where 2 strains have evolved, one in Africa and one in Asia.  The first infections outside of Africa and Asia occurred in Micronesia in 2007.  Since then, the virus has spread throughout the southern Pacific islands and arrived in South America a few years ago.  Dense populations of both humans and the vector mosquito has caused Zika to explode in Central and South America.  At the time of this article, about 20 cases have been reported in the US, all from people who traveled to areas where the disease is present (such as Brazil).  

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