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Adv Physiol Educ. 2013 Mar;37(1):93-6. doi: 10.1152/advan.00002.2013.

Cold stress and the cold pressor test.

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Section of Integrative Biology, University of Texas, Austin, TX 78712, USA.


Temperature and other environmental stressors are known to affect blood pressure and heart rate. In this activity, students perform the cold pressor test, demonstrating increased blood pressure during a 1- to 2-min immersion of one hand in ice water. The cold pressor test is used clinically to evaluate autonomic and left ventricular function. This activity is easily adapted to an inquiry format that asks students to go to the scientific literature to learn about the test and then design a protocol for carrying out the test in classmates. The data collected are ideal for teaching graphical presentation of data and statistical analysis.

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