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The Effects of a Palm Cooling Device and a Cooling Vest During Simulated Pilot Heat Stress

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Interim rept. Oct 2005-Jan 2007

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A cooling vest CV and a Rapid Thermal Exchange RTXRegistered hand cooling device were tested in a thermal chamber simulating aircrew pre-flight walk around at 95 F. Physiologic cooling protection, cognitive performance and mood changes were studied. Twelve male subjects were tested. Rectal and skin temperatures as well as cognitive performance and mood changes were assessed. The chamber was heated to 35 degrees C with a relative humidity of 85 and the subjects walked on a treadmill for 20 min. A period of slow cooling down over 75 minutes followed. The subjects weight was recorded before and after each experiment. Three different conditions were tested a control without any cooling device, a Rapid Thermal Exchange hand cooling device RTXRegistered and a RFDRegistered Beaufort Liquid conditioning Vest CV. The CV provided significant cooling benefit as seen by core temperature, weight loss, heart rate, subjective heat and mood scores, compared to a control condition without any cooling devices. While RTXRegistered appeared to have some slight benefits compared to control i.e. mean values tended to fall in between control and cooling vest, there was little statistical evidence other than weight loss to support this tendency. The heat stress induced in this study i.e. simulating aircrew pre-flight walk around was moderate and not severe as some other operational environments could be e.g. for flight-line maintenance crew. Therefore, cognition was not impaired by the heat stress generated in this study, and, thus, no observed improvement could be seen from the two cooling conditions.

Subject Categories:

  • Stress Physiology
  • Protective Equipment
  • Psychology

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