The Effect of Sustained Field Operations on Urinary Metabolites, Electrolytes and Cortisol
WALTER REED ARMY INST OF RESEARCH WASHINGTON DC
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As part of a research project that is directed at characterizing indices of stress in military environments, we measured urinary metabolites, electrolytes and cortisol in 10 soldiers participating in the CANE 1 sustained operations exercise at Ft. Hunter-Liggett, California in April 1983. The CANE 1 phase 1 of Combined Arms in a Nuclearchemical Environment exercise was conducted to assess platoon performance in units wearing MOPP gear. MOPPMission Oriented Protective Posture is the individual clothing worn to protect individuals against exposure to chemical warfare agents. MOPP includes a special suit, mask, boots and gloves. The exercise included a baseline pretrial period of several days, a 3 day sustained operations exercise in normal field gear, an intertrial period, a second 3 day sustained operations exercise wearing MOPP gear and a post trial period. The purpose of the research study was to determine whether any of the urinary indices of stress or metabolism measured would reflect the changes in the environment during the course of the exercise such that these indices could be used to objectively assess the degree of stress associated with each phase of the exercise. Soldiers were found to excrete more cortisol during the sustained operations phases of the exercise than in pretrial, intertrial and post trial periods. In addition, the daily pattern of cortisol excretion was altered in soldiers operating around-the-clock. Recovery to pretrial baseline values was relatively rapid. Changes in urine volume, specific gravity, nitrogen and electrolyte excretion were also seen.
- Stress Physiology