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Does a Normobaric Hypoxia Sleep Regimen Affect Work Performance at High Altitude?

Status Current
Seeking Researchers No
Start Date 09/01/2007
End Date 06/30/2008
Funding Source Alaska Heart Institute Fellowships
Funding Amount
Community Partner
Related Course
Last Updated 07/05/2008 01:25AM
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People

Faculty
  Loren Buck

Student Researchers
  Steven Wolfe

Abstract

The military frequently sends service personnel into extreme environments, including high altitude, on short notice. At high altitude, unacclimatized personnel experience a reduction in work capacity, and risk altitude-related illnesses. A few military units have implemented nomobaric hypoxia training (NHT), intermittent exposure to low ambient oxygen levels at normal barometric pressure, to prepare for high altitude deployments, NHT (via exercise or sleep regimen) is effect in enhancing sea level performance, but its usefulness for acclimatization has not been established. The Alaska Air National Guard's 212th Rescue Squadron has recently purchased normobaric hypoxia equipment to enhance its ability to meet its mission requirements, but lacks a training protocol for its use. In collaboration with U.S. Army Research Institute for Environmental Medicine (ARIEM), we will investigate effects of a 10-day sleep hypoxia regimen on work performance under normobaric (sea level) and hypobaric (high altitude) hypoxia conditions. We will assess work performance via a 500 Kilojoule bicycle ergometry time trial; the time to complete 500 Kj of work before and after the 10-day treatment or control regimen. In addition to performance assessment, we will collect data on blood gas and chemistry from all subjects to compare hematological responses between treatment and control groups. Blood data will establish reference values for continuing studies of physiological and medical implications of high altitude deployments and treatments and serve to inrease our mechanistic understanding of high-altitude acclimatizaation. The knowledge gained from this study will not only enhance our unit's capabilities and safety, but also may increase our knowledge and efficacy in patient care at high altitudes.

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