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O’Brien C, Tharion WJ, Sils IV, Castellani JW. Cognitive, psychomotor, and physical performance in cold air after cooling by exercise in cold water. Aviat Space Environ Med 2007; 78:568–573.
Introduction: This study evaluated performance after lowering core temperature at different rates while local tissues were either cooled (lower body) or not cooled (upper body). Methods: There were 10 men who volunteered to perform up to 8 cold water immersions (CWI) at combinations of 2 water temperatures (10°C and 15°C), 2 depths [waist (W), chest (C)], and 2 walking speeds (0.44 or 0.88 m · s−1) until their core temperature fell to 35.5°C, stabilized above that temperature, or they requested to stop. They also completed a control trial (120 min rest in 19°C air). Immediately following each CWI and control, cognitive and physical performance tests were performed in cold air (10°C; CAE). Results: Overall, the CWI protocol lowered rectal temperature by 0.3–1.0°C. Mean skin temperature was ∼26°C and finger temperature was ∼15°C during CAE. No statistical differences were observed across trials for any cognitive test. On the physical performance tests, step test performance was degraded ∼12% on CWI trials compared with control, but there were no differences in manual dexterity, hand grip strength, marksmanship, or pull-ups. Conclusions: These results indicate that cognitive performance can be maintained despite mild hypothermia, and that physical performance is related to local tissue temperature, not a moderately reduced core temperature.
The peer-reviewed monthly journal, Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine (ASEM) provides contact with physicians, life scientists, bioengineers, and medical specialists working in both basic medical research and in its clinical applications. It is the most used and cited journal in its field. ASEM is distributed to more than 80 nations.