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The Effects of Differing Oxygen Concentrations on Reaction Time Performance at Altitude
Technical rept. 1 Jan 2014-1 Jan 2015
NAVAL MEDICAL RESEARCH UNIT (DAYTON) WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH
Pagination or Media Count:
Currently, the OBOGS operates in two settings a low altitude function less than 11,000 ft wherein an approximately 60 oxygen concentration is delivered, and a high altitude function, which delivers a 94 oxygen concentration. It is unknown if these limited oxygen concentration profiles are ideal for maintaining adequate levels of performance. The goal of this study was to document the effects of a graduated oxygen delivery schedule on cognitive task performance to determine whether modifications to the in-flight O2 delivery schedule is necessary to maintain peak performance in operational environments. Analyses of variance revealed no significant differences between baseline performance and performance at altitude, regardless of oxygen concentration or altitude. With the possible disadvantages of breathing high concentrations of oxygen such as alveolar collapse or hypocapnia, the potential advantages would seem to be offset. As performance was not significantly affected, it is of the opinion of the authors of this research that lower oxygen concentrations can be used in place of the current delivery schedule without an interruption to any flight operation.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE