The effect of hydration and normobaric hypoxia on reaction time

Rivers, Max (2016) The effect of hydration and normobaric hypoxia on reaction time. Undergraduate thesis, University of Chichester.

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Abstract

Background Increased levels of dehydration impact physiology and then impact on cognitive function, most notably in the frontal cortex and the hippocampus. These areas of the brain are both intrinsically linked to a range of basic functions. However, importantly, they are associated with reaction and reaction speed. When at altitude, low air pressure can cause a drop in SpO2 or arterial oxygen saturation. This also occurs when tests are carried out in a simulated hypoxic environment. Reduced oxygen reaching the brain has potentially detrimental effects on cognitive function and processing speed. This study has added to the studies that have applied hydration and altitude stressors to identify combination effects on cognitive function and in particular reaction time.
Method 12 participants completed a two-way crossover repeated measures design that covered both hydrated and dehydrated conditions, at altitude (3,000m) and sea-level, in a randomized order. Each experimental period involved pre-measures, an exercise period and post-measures that included reaction time measurements.
Findings The findings showed that incongruent reaction time is significantly increased with dehydration of >1% body mass loss. However, the results showed no significance when exposed to altitude, even though oxygen saturation decreased significantly to ~85%. The hydration protocol was effective and participants were found to be thirstier when dehydrated, as confirmed by measures of Urine Colour and Specific Gravity.
Conclusions This study showed that, with 40 minutes exposure to a simulated altitude of 3000m, there was no significant effect on complex reaction time. However, dehydration of >1% body mass loss alone caused incongruent reaction time to increase significantly.

Item Type: Thesis (Undergraduate)
Additional Information: BA (Hons) Adventure Education
Subjects: Q Science > QP Physiology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC1200 Sports Medicine
Divisions: Departments > Adventure Education
Undergraduate Dissertations
Depositing User: Ann Jones
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2017 11:21
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2017 11:21
URI: http://eprints.chi.ac.uk/id/eprint/2415

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