A Cure Out of Thin Air

Life at 5100 meters comes with a host of challenges, but in Peru's La Rinconada, it's the thin air—just half the oxygen as at sea level—that interests scientists. 

The world’s highest human settlement, La Rinconada is the global capital of chronic mountain sickness, a potentially deadly condition marked by excessive production of red blood cells.

Scientists have flocked to the settlement, marking the first time researchers have traveled to such an altitude to study the condition, which affects 140 million people living at high altitudes but remains a neglected disease.


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