MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A team of doctors and elite athletes are back from a month-long study that’s far from the science lab.

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Researchers from the Mayo Clinic studied how the body adapts to extreme environments, specifically the lungs. The researchers teamed up with The North Face and National Geographic to climb Mount Everest. In those high altitudes, scientists watched how athletes climb under extreme conditions — ones that simulate heart disease, muscle loss and heart problems.

The researchers and athletes returned to Minnesota Saturday night.

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Those involved said ice falls and avalanches made the study a challenge. Many of the team members had altitude sickness but they say, overall, it was a success.

“These studies are novel and exciting, but they’re challenging and difficult,” one researcher said. “I’d say the Mayo team did extraordinarily well.”

The group was gone almost a month. Some of the athletes are still on the mountain, waiting to summit.

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(credit: May Clinic News Network)