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Percept Mot Skills. 1988 Oct;67(2):443-52.

Neurobehavioral and psychosocial functioning of women exposed to high altitude in mountaineering.

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University of Washington.


The effects of chronic hypoxemia upon cognition and behavior were studied in women exposed to high altitude in mountaineering. Neuropsychological tests and psychosocial and physiological questionnaires were given to eight women before, during, and immediately after a Himalayan climb to 20,500 feet. Cognitive functioning remained relatively intact with only two significant decrements, complex abstract reasoning and word-finding ability. Significant changes were found on all psychosocial and physiological questionnaires. Feelings of acceptance of others and anxiety declined significantly. Physical symptoms were greatest during the first five days of ascent. Subjects' self-ratings of mental functioning were significantly better after the expedition than either before or during the climb. Self-assessments were correlated with emotions and physical symptoms, not with actual performances on the test battery. It is suggested that complex cognitive tasks and psychosocial functioning be studied in more detail as these were more influenced by exposure to high altitude in mountaineering.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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