Central nervous reactions to a 6.5-hour altitude exposure at 3048 meters

Aviat Space Environ Med. 1984 Oct;55(10):921-6.


In this study of CNS reactions to mild hypoxia, 7 subjects were decompressed to the equivalence of 3048 m altitude breathing air, for 6.5 h. On reaching 3048 m, and for every second h thereafter, a battery of neuropsychological tests were administered. In addition, blood and performance measures were sampled and a symptom check list was administered. The performance tests indicated significant effects of hypoxia. In contrast to earlier studies on grade of hypoxia and performance, no relationship between impaired performance and duration of exposure to hypoxia was found. Repeated testing throughout exposure indicated stable individual reactions. Endocrine variables did not support the hypothesis that activation or 'stress' caused the impairment observed. In addition to impaired neuropsychological test performance and impaired task performance, the subjects reported headache, weakness and some dizziness. Comparisons between different tests confirmed previous results showing that mild hypoxia yields varying degrees of impairment on different cognitive functions.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aerospace Medicine*
  • Altitude
  • Asthenia / etiology
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Decompression
  • Dizziness / etiology
  • Female
  • Growth Hormone / blood
  • Headache / etiology
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Hypoxia / complications
  • Hypoxia / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Prolactin / blood
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Testosterone / blood
  • Thyroxine / blood
  • Time Factors


  • Testosterone
  • Prolactin
  • Growth Hormone
  • Thyroxine
  • Hydrocortisone