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The living situations in our environment differ (e.g. the climate in different parts of the earth, differences in pressure and oxygen saturation at different heights). The flight connections around the world lead to a fast shift of time-zones called "jet-lag" (adaption of the bio-rhythm). Thus, the human performance and possible health hazards are variable, as well.
Difficult working conditions also alter the human performance.
Jet-Lag is the synonym for a number of health-related symptoms that may be caused by flying through several time-zones in long-distance flights. The symptoms are: sleep disturbances, unusual fatigue, decrease in performance and limited wakefulness by day, as well as psychosomatic and gastrointestinal problems.
AGARD - STRES - Battery
In its committee for psychological issues, the Advisory Group for Aerospace Research and Development (AGARD) has recommended a computer supported test battery for the examination of the mental performance: the STRES battery (Standardized Tests for Research with Environmental Stressors). Most of the tasks are based on the CTS (Criterion Task Set) battery, which was developed for the then popular C64 computer.
Performance Tests for the Comparsion of Sleep Deprivation, Oxygen Deficiency and Alcohol
The effects of a shortened duration of sleep on the human performance has been examined in several studies in the Arbeitsmedizinische Simulationsanlage (medical simulation facility) AMSAN. The examinations are based on the hypothesis that partial sleep deprivation leads acutely and cumulatively to a reduction of the mental performance.
Flying and Diving
During the last 10-15 years, the practice of diving as a sport during holidays has expanded enormously. While in Germany, only about 100 000 divers are organized in clubs and train more or less regularly, we reckon on the tenfold number of recreation divers concerned with under-water "sightseeing" exclusively during the holidays.
Decompression Problems in Space
Due to Henry's Law, organisms saturate themselves with the nitrogen contained in the air we breathe. Decompression problems may occur if the surrounding pressure is diminished. When the pressure is diminished, the surplus nitrogen will escape from the liquid in the form of gas
As it is a closed system, it is possible to set the medical pressure chamber laboratory to different environmental conditions (e.g. different temperatures, different pressures and different gas mixtures).
In several studies, the European Space Agency (ESA) has commissioned an examination of the necessities and conditions for the human (long-term-) residence in space. In 1992, an extensive international study was carried out under the designation EXEMSI (Experimental Campaign for the European Manned Space Infrastructure) in the baro-chamber TITAN
Dr.med. Mathias Basner
Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR)
Institut für Luft- und Raumfahrtmedizin
Tel.: +49 2203 601-3058
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