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Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 1996 Nov-Dec;75(6):443-50.

Hemodynamic and thermal responses to head and neck cooling in men and women.

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Lockheed Martin Engineering and Sciences, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA 94035, USA.


Personal cooling systems are used to alleviate symptoms of multiple sclerosis and to prevent increased core temperature during daily activities. The objective of this study was to determine the operating characteristics and the physiologic changes produced by short term use of one commercially available thermal control system. A Life Support Systems, Inc. Mark VII portable cooling system and a liquid cooling helmet were used to cool the head and neck regions of 12 female and 12 male subjects (25-55 yr) in this study. The healthy subjects, seated in an upright position at normal room temperature (approximately 21 degrees C), were tested for 30 min with the liquid cooling garment operated at its maximum cooling capacity. Electrocardiograms and scalp and intracranial blood flows were recorded periodically during each test sequence. Scalp, right and left ear, and oral temperatures and cooling system parameters were logged every 5 min. Scalp, right and left ear canal, and oral temperatures were all significantly (P <0.05) reduced by 30 min of head and neck cooling. Oral temperatures decreased approximately 0.2-0.6 degrees C after 30 min and continued to decrease further (approximately 0.1-0.2 degrees C) for a period of approximately 10 min after removal of the cooling helmet. Intracranial blood flow decreased significantly (P < 0.05) during the first 10 min of the cooling period. Both right and left ear temperatures in the women were significantly lower than those of the men during the cooling period. These data indicate that head and neck cooling may be used to reduce core temperature to that needed for symptomatic relief of both male and female multiple sclerosis patients. This study quantifies the operating characteristics of one liquid cooling garment as an example of the information needed to compare the efficiency of other garments operated under different test conditions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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