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Biol Psychiatry. 2009 Aug 15;66(4):334-40. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2009.04.004. Epub 2009 Jun 5.

Relationships among plasma dehydroepiandrosterone and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate, cortisol, symptoms of dissociation, and objective performance in humans exposed to underwater navigation stress.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, USA. charles.a.morgan@yale.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

A growing body of research has provided evidence that dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS) are involved in an organism's response to stress and that it may provide beneficial behavioral and neurotrophic effects.

METHODS:

This study investigated plasma DHEA and DHEAS, cortisol, psychological symptoms of dissociation, and military performance in 41 healthy active duty subjects enrolled in the military Combat Diver Qualification Course (CDQC).

RESULTS:

Baseline values of DHEA and DHEAS were significantly and positively predictive of superior performance in the underwater navigation exam; in addition, DHEA and DHEAS were significantly and negatively related to stress-induced symptoms of dissociation during performance of the task. Similarly, participants who reported fewer symptoms of dissociation exhibited superior military performance and increased levels of DHEA after the test.

CONCLUSIONS:

These data provide prospective, empiric evidence that DHEA and DHEAS are associated with superior stress tolerance, fewer symptoms of dissociation, and superior, objectively assessed, military performance.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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