Inspire 22: Military and civilian research team return to UK after 900km Antarctic expedition

A team of tri-service military personnel and civilians is back in the UK after completing a demanding medical research expedition.

The team of nine, including doctors, physiologists, an engineer and a teacher, skied more than 900km to the South Pole to try to find out how much energy the body uses during sustained polar travel.

It is the largest military and civilian medical research expedition to ski to the South pole and was part-sponsored by BFBS.

Watch: What the Inspire 22 team discovered in the frozen conditions.

Expedition leader and research leader Major Natalie Taylor, Regimental Medical officer for 3 SCOTS, said: "The data we've captured has been absolutely amazing.

"The granularity and the depth of the science that we have collected has never been done before.

"Although we haven't done the analysis yet, we are sure to get some greater research out of this.

"We know that the men and women, because we are comparing men and women together, have all lost weight, and it looks like, just anecdotally from seeing the scans, that everyone has lost fat and nobody has lost muscle, which is great news."

Watch: The impact of polar conditions on the human body.

Major Pat Harper, GP Trainee Army Medical Services MS support Unit, told Forces News: "We were out there for 47 days, so a really arduous environment going from 150 metres down on the Ronne ice shelf all the way up to the Polar Plateau which is about 2,800/2,900 metres.

"During that time, we were doing scientific measurements, so we were getting our weights done, we were having our fat calipered, which involves basically using a big pair of forceps to measure how much fat they can pinch, which was comfortable, particularly while you've got your shirt off in -40 [°Celsius]!

"You get used to it, is probably the thing to say. It gives you a lot of time to think, a lot of time to appreciate the scenery and where you are, so basically, it’s keeping your mind occupied because if you start switching off and not thinking about where you are or getting complacent, then obviously it's quite a hostile environment."

BFBS trustees sponsored the Inspire 22 expedition through the BFBS Welfare Fund which supports amenities, activities and projects that promote the efficiency of the Armed Forces. BFBS is the parent company of Forces News.

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