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Aviat Space Environ Med. 1988 Nov;59(11 Pt 1):1026-33.

Age, alcohol, and simulated altitude: effects on performance and breathalyzer scores.

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Human Resources Research Branch, FAA Civil Aeromedical Institute, Oklahoma City, OK.


Trained men in two age groups, 30-39 (n = 12) and 60-69 (n = 13), each performed at the Multiple Task Performance Battery in four separate full-day sessions with and without alcohol (2.2 ml of 100-proof vodka per kilogram of body weight) at ground level and at a simulated altitude of 12,500 ft (3,810 m). Subjects breathed appropriate gas mixtures through oxygen masks at both ground level and altitude. Mean breathalyzer readings peaked near 88 mg% and did not differ between age groups or altitude conditions. Younger subjects performed better than older subjects; performance of both age groups was significantly impaired by alcohol but these adverse effects were greater for the older subjects. No significant effects on performance were obtained due to altitude or to the interaction of altitude with alcohol. These results and those from several other studies suggest that prevalent views regarding the nature of the combined effects of alcohol and altitude on blood alcohol levels and on performance need to be redefined.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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