Diving Physiology Study Taking Shape

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Drs. Neal Pollock and Dawn Kernagis are setting up some exciting studies for the Bell Island Exploration Team. The information gathered from the dives will be added to Dr. Pollack’s extensive life’s work on decompression, thermal issues and human performance during repetitive dives.

The plan includes monitoring divers for bubbles in the heart post-dive with ultrasound readings taken at 20 minute intervals for two hours. It takes three to four minutes to complete each scan, so the divers will remain in the area under close watch throughout the sampling period. Pollock would also like to look for blood markers of decompression stress with standard blood draws. This would normally be one pre-dive and two (rarely three) post-dive on selected days. The volume taken is small, but there can be quite a few draws.

Dive team members will participate voluntarily in the study and should benefit from learning about the effectiveness of their personal decompression strategy.

In addition to the blood draws and ultrasound, subjects will participate in a 20 minute battery of physical fitness and status measures prior to the start of the study dives.

The team, although small, is diverse with a span of ages, both genders and a variety of fitness levels. Some participants will use external heating devices and others plan to soldier through with no additional heat provided for their dives.

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