Health and Fitness

'Taboo' of forces fainting: Can it be prevented?

How one cardiology doctor, Major Iain Parsons, is taking on the military's fainting problem.

In a heat chamber in a university in Yorkshire, a civilian has been 'tortured' in the name of military science. 

Placed in 32-degree heat at 70% humidity and made to cycle 20km as fast as possible, the experiments taking place at Leeds Beckett University are attempting to find a solution to an age-old military problem – fainting.

Twice as common in the services than among civilian populations, fainting is arguably a bigger problem in the UK than anywhere else in the world.

A taboo subject in the Armed Forces, fainting is devastating for those it happens to and is widely misunderstood.

But Major Iain Parsons, a cardiology doctor, is trying to find out more about why troops faint on parade, why it is more common in the military and how the Armed Forces can better understand it. 

As well as looking to improve fitness levels, Maj Parsons has also looked at acclimatising troops to high levels of heat.