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A. Improving High Altitude Working Conditions

Narrator: This is Science Today. A new way to improve conditions for workers at high altitudes has been developed and successfully field-tested by researchers at the University of California, San Diego. John West, a professor of medicine and physiology, designed oxygen-enriched rooms using devices patients with lung disease have used for years.

West: They have a little thing on the floor, which generates oxygen from the air, and it's fed into their nostrils. Here, we're actually feeding it into the room itself and so instead of living in a twenty-one percent oxygen atmosphere, we increase it up to twenty-seven percent.

Narrator: At high altitudes, the air is thinner and a person becomes deprived of oxygen. This impairs mental productivity, sleep quality and overall well being. Today, more people are working at high altitudes - including miners in Chile and even Cal Tech astronomers putting up a radio telescope at a site over 16 thousand feet up.

West: So, the fact that we've been able to come up with this way of improving conditions in a relatively simple way is very important.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.