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Cognitive and psychomotor responses to high-altitude exposure in sea level and high-altitude residents of Ecuador.

Davis JE, Wagner DR, Garvin N, Moilanen D, Thorington J, Schall C - J Physiol Anthropol (2015)

Bottom Line: Cognitive/psychomotor measurements included a go-no-go test (responding to a non-visual stimulus), a verbal fluency test (verbalizing a series of words specific to a particular category), and a hand movement test (rapidly repeating a series of hand positions).There were no significant differences (p = 0.168) between LOW, MOD, and HIGH for the verbal fluency test.However, the go-no-go test was significantly lower (p < 0.001) in the HIGH group (8.8 ± 1.40 correct responses) than the LOW (9.8 ± 0.61) or MOD (9.8 ± 0.55) groups, and both MOD (97.9 ± 31.2) and HIGH (83.5 ± 26.7) groups completed fewer correct hand movements than the LOW (136.6 ± 37.9) subjects (p < 0.001).

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Integrative Physiology and Health Science, Alma College, 614 Superior Street, Alma, MI, 48801, USA. davisj@alma.edu.

ABSTRACT

Background: High-altitude inhabitants have cardiovascular and respiratory adaptations that are advantageous for high-altitude living, but they may have impaired cognitive function. This study evaluated the influence of altitude of residence on cognitive and psychomotor function upon acute exposure to very high altitude.

Findings: Ecuadorians (31 residing at 0-1,500 m [LOW], 78 from 1,501-3,000 m [MOD], and 23 living >3,000 m [HIGH]) were tested upon their arrival to a hut at 4,860 m on Mount Chimborazo. Cognitive/psychomotor measurements included a go-no-go test (responding to a non-visual stimulus), a verbal fluency test (verbalizing a series of words specific to a particular category), and a hand movement test (rapidly repeating a series of hand positions). Mean differences between the three altitude groups on these cognitive/psychomotor tests were evaluated with one-way ANOVA. There were no significant differences (p = 0.168) between LOW, MOD, and HIGH for the verbal fluency test. However, the go-no-go test was significantly lower (p < 0.001) in the HIGH group (8.8 ± 1.40 correct responses) than the LOW (9.8 ± 0.61) or MOD (9.8 ± 0.55) groups, and both MOD (97.9 ± 31.2) and HIGH (83.5 ± 26.7) groups completed fewer correct hand movements than the LOW (136.6 ± 37.9) subjects (p < 0.001).

Conclusions: Based on this field study, high-altitude residents appear to have some impaired cognitive function suggesting the possibility of maladaptation to long-term exposure to hypobaric hypoxia.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Number of correct responses of 10 trials of the go-no-go test for the LOW, MOD, and HIGH groups. The asterisk indicates a significant difference (p < 0.001) between LOW and MOD verses HIGH groups.
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Fig3: Number of correct responses of 10 trials of the go-no-go test for the LOW, MOD, and HIGH groups. The asterisk indicates a significant difference (p < 0.001) between LOW and MOD verses HIGH groups.

Mentions: The correct number of responses to the go-no-go non-visual stimulus test was significantly less in HIGH compared to LOW or MOD (Figure 3; F2,129 = 14.282, p < 0.001) with an effect size of η2 = 0.18. This test served as a measure of a participant’s capacity for sustained attention and response control. The lower score for the HIGH group could be attributed to the lack of the need to respond to environmental cues, for example traffic and phones, or a direct influence of the hypoxia.Figure 3


Cognitive and psychomotor responses to high-altitude exposure in sea level and high-altitude residents of Ecuador.

Davis JE, Wagner DR, Garvin N, Moilanen D, Thorington J, Schall C - J Physiol Anthropol (2015)

Number of correct responses of 10 trials of the go-no-go test for the LOW, MOD, and HIGH groups. The asterisk indicates a significant difference (p < 0.001) between LOW and MOD verses HIGH groups.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4320830&req=5

Fig3: Number of correct responses of 10 trials of the go-no-go test for the LOW, MOD, and HIGH groups. The asterisk indicates a significant difference (p < 0.001) between LOW and MOD verses HIGH groups.
Mentions: The correct number of responses to the go-no-go non-visual stimulus test was significantly less in HIGH compared to LOW or MOD (Figure 3; F2,129 = 14.282, p < 0.001) with an effect size of η2 = 0.18. This test served as a measure of a participant’s capacity for sustained attention and response control. The lower score for the HIGH group could be attributed to the lack of the need to respond to environmental cues, for example traffic and phones, or a direct influence of the hypoxia.Figure 3

Bottom Line: Cognitive/psychomotor measurements included a go-no-go test (responding to a non-visual stimulus), a verbal fluency test (verbalizing a series of words specific to a particular category), and a hand movement test (rapidly repeating a series of hand positions).There were no significant differences (p = 0.168) between LOW, MOD, and HIGH for the verbal fluency test.However, the go-no-go test was significantly lower (p < 0.001) in the HIGH group (8.8 ± 1.40 correct responses) than the LOW (9.8 ± 0.61) or MOD (9.8 ± 0.55) groups, and both MOD (97.9 ± 31.2) and HIGH (83.5 ± 26.7) groups completed fewer correct hand movements than the LOW (136.6 ± 37.9) subjects (p < 0.001).

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Integrative Physiology and Health Science, Alma College, 614 Superior Street, Alma, MI, 48801, USA. davisj@alma.edu.

ABSTRACT

Background: High-altitude inhabitants have cardiovascular and respiratory adaptations that are advantageous for high-altitude living, but they may have impaired cognitive function. This study evaluated the influence of altitude of residence on cognitive and psychomotor function upon acute exposure to very high altitude.

Findings: Ecuadorians (31 residing at 0-1,500 m [LOW], 78 from 1,501-3,000 m [MOD], and 23 living >3,000 m [HIGH]) were tested upon their arrival to a hut at 4,860 m on Mount Chimborazo. Cognitive/psychomotor measurements included a go-no-go test (responding to a non-visual stimulus), a verbal fluency test (verbalizing a series of words specific to a particular category), and a hand movement test (rapidly repeating a series of hand positions). Mean differences between the three altitude groups on these cognitive/psychomotor tests were evaluated with one-way ANOVA. There were no significant differences (p = 0.168) between LOW, MOD, and HIGH for the verbal fluency test. However, the go-no-go test was significantly lower (p < 0.001) in the HIGH group (8.8 ± 1.40 correct responses) than the LOW (9.8 ± 0.61) or MOD (9.8 ± 0.55) groups, and both MOD (97.9 ± 31.2) and HIGH (83.5 ± 26.7) groups completed fewer correct hand movements than the LOW (136.6 ± 37.9) subjects (p < 0.001).

Conclusions: Based on this field study, high-altitude residents appear to have some impaired cognitive function suggesting the possibility of maladaptation to long-term exposure to hypobaric hypoxia.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus