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Int J Circumpolar Health. 2001 Aug;60(3):430-9.

Mental and cognitive performance in the cold.

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Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of California, San Diego, USA.


Vigilance, attention, memory, and motivation are essential to adapting to the physiological changes that occur with prolonged exposure to the cold and to avoiding both the environmental hazards associated with cold and the health-related consequences of these hazards. This paper summarizes the effects of cold temperatures on cognitive performance and mood. Although the effects of hypothermic-induced cold temperatures on cognitive performance and mood have been well documented, evidence of nonhypothermic effects has been inconsistent. There is evidence of a dose-response relation involving decrements in cognitive performance with respect to decline in core body temperature and complexity of tasks performed. However, it is unclear whether these effects are due to distraction or increased arousal. Likewise, further research is required to test the efficacy of existing and proposed pharmacologic and nutritional countermeasures.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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