PERFORMANCE DURING MILD ACUTE HYPOXIA

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Authors
  1. Paul, M.A.
  2. Fraser, W.D.
Corporate Authors
Defence and Civil Inst of Environmental Medicine, Downsview ONT (CAN)
Abstract
The controversy regarding the effects of mild hypoxia on learning performance needs to be resolved, since this may be affecting light operations and safety. This study examined the ability to learn new tasks at low altitudes. Naive subjects (n=155) performed spatial orientation (Mannikin), serial choice reaction time (SCRT) and logical reasoning (Baddeley) tasks at ground level and at altitudes of 1,524m (5,000 ft.), 2,438m (8,000 ft.), 3,048m (10,000 ft.), and 3,658m (12,000 ft.), at rest or during exercise (VO2=600 ml 02/min) in a hypobaric chamber. Each task was performed over four serial repetitions (blocks) and presented at ground level or one of the four test altitudes in a first session, and in the reverse order in a second session. Performance for the Mannikin and SCRT tasks performed significantly (p<0.0001) over the 4 blocks of the first session in all subjects and at all altitudes. No significant difference was found between the corresponding 4 blocks of the first session in resting and exercising subjects tested at ground level before altitude compared to altitude before ground level. In general, RT for the 3 tasks were faster in resting than in exercising subjects. These results indicate that the ability to learn new tasks is not impaired by mild hypoxia at altitudes of up to 3,658m. We detected a biphasic response to altitude in LRT and SCRT performance, but not for Mannikin performance. TRUNCATED.
Keywords
Ground level
Report Number
DCIEM-93-15 — Reprint; Research Paper
Date of publication
01 Nov 1993
Number of Pages
9
Reprinted from
Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine, vol 65, no 10, 1994, p 891-899
DSTKIM No
94-07336
CANDIS No
147572
Format(s):
Hardcopy;Document Image stored on Optical Disk

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