Send to

Choose Destination
High Alt Med Biol. 2000 Spring;1(1):51-61.

Six percent oxygen enrichment of room air at simulated 5,000 m altitude improves neuropsychological function.

Author information

Department of Medicine, University of California San Diego, La Jolla 92093-0623, USA.


Cognitive and motor function are known to deteriorate with the hypoxia accompanying high altitude, posing a substantial challenge to the efficient operation of high altitude industrial and scientific projects. To evaluate the effectiveness of enriching room air oxygen by 6% at 5,000 m altitude in ameliorating such deficits, 24 unacclimatized subjects (16 males, 8 females; mean age 37.8, range 20 to 47) underwent neuropsychological testing in a specially designed facility at 3,800 m that can simulate an ambient 5,000 m atmosphere and 6% enrichment at 5,000 m. Each subject was tested in both conditions in a randomized, double-blinded fashion. The 2-h test battery of 16 tasks assessed various aspects of motor and cognitive performance. Compared with simulated breathing air at 5,000 m, oxygen enrichment resulted in higher arterial oxygen saturations (93.0 vs. 81.6%), quicker reaction times, improved hand-eye coordination, and more positive sense of well-being (on 6 of 16 scales), each significant at the p < 0.05 level. Other aspects of neuropsychological function were not significantly improved by 6% additional oxygen.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center