SALT LAKE CITY, April 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Fusion-io (NYSE: FIO) today announced that it is working with USA Memory Champion and Fusion-io Memory Master Nelson Dellis to showcase the importance of memory in our minds and our datacenters by bringing Dellis' Memory Challenge of climbing Mount Everest to computer screens around the world. After having to stop 280 feet short of the 29,029-foot summit on his first attempt to climb the south side of Mount Everest in 2011 due to an oxygen tank malfunction, Dellis is scaling the world's tallest mountain once again in support of his charity, Climb For Memory.
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A two-time USA Memory Champion, Dellis holds multiple U.S. memory records, including 63 seconds to memorize the order of a shuffled deck of playing cards and the record of most digits memorized in five minutes – 303. His journey began shortly after his grandmother passed away in 2009 after suffering from Alzheimer's disease for many years. As a result, Dellis developed a passion for memory training and believes that keeping the mind fit and exercising the brain daily can keep the mind sharp and protect against the debilitating brain disease.
"After losing my grandmother to Alzheimer's disease, raising awareness of the importance of memory became a personal mission," said Dellis. "After having to stop so close to the summit in 2011, I knew I had to go back and try again. Mount Everest is a very literal mountain to climb, but it also takes courage to stand up and be innovative in how we approach other challenges. Fusion-io is an exciting technology innovator that I am proud to be working with to bring more awareness to how computer memory and mental memory are both enhanced by using software designed to help us achieve more."
Four psychologists at Washington University in St. Louis, a leading center for the study of human memory, will be studying Dellis' mental performance as he ascends and descends the north side of Mt. Everest to determine the effect of altitude on the ability to recall information. Dellis will test himself on several memory tasks programmed into his computer in the evenings after climbing, and the results will be automatically stored for the researchers to examine later. Similar challenges and memory training videos will be posted online at www.fusionio.com/memorychallenge as Dellis reaches each base camp to give everyone a chance to sharpen and test their own memory skills.
"We are interested in the effects of altitude on mental performance to help develop a better understanding of memory," said Mary Pyc, one of the Washington University psychologists. "There are very few studies of this sort in the scientific literature, and we're pleased to be working with Nelson to evaluate the impact of altitude on a mental athlete to advance our understanding of the biological science of memory."
The Washington University researchers, including Pyc, as well as Professors David Balota, Kathleen McDermott and Roddy Roediger, will also be testing a group of control subjects repeatedly on the same schedule of tests taken by Dellis as he climbs Mt. Everest. The control group will all be tested at only 466 feet above sea level (the altitude of St. Louis) to separate the effects of simply taking the cognitive tests repeatedly as distinct from the effects of climbing and altitude.
In addition to memory training videos and tests, the Memory Challenge website also includes a 3D video view of the north trail Dellis will trek from mid-April to mid-May as he awaits a weather window to summit the mountain. Dellis will also post video and blog posts throughout the climb, and he will be sharing updates via satellite link from his Twitter account, @ClimbForMemory, using the hashtag, #MemoryChallenge.
"Fusion-io and Nelson Dellis both believe in the importance of memory, both in our brains and our computers, making it a natural fit for us to team up for the Climb for Memory," said Rick White, Fusion-io Co-founder and Chief Marketing Officer. "Nelson is an inspiring mental and physical athlete, and we admire his dedication to memory and achieving challenging goals, even when it's not easy to succeed the first time. As an entrepreneur, you learn from experience that determination is critical to success, and we see that spirit of hard work and innovation shared by many of our groundbreaking customers around the world. We're proud to sponsor Nelson to bring awareness to the importance of memory, all in celebration of the courage of innovators scaling their own mountains every day."
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