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Data from: Cognitive function and mood at high altitude following acclimatization and use of supplemental oxygen and adaptive servoventilation sleep treatments

Citation

Heinrich, Erica C. et al. (2019), Data from: Cognitive function and mood at high altitude following acclimatization and use of supplemental oxygen and adaptive servoventilation sleep treatments, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.5g4409r

Abstract

Impairments in cognitive function, mood, and sleep quality occur following ascent to high altitude. Low oxygen (hypoxia) and poor sleep quality are both linked to impaired cognitive performance but their independent contributions at high altitude remain unknown. Adaptive servoventilation (ASV) improves sleep quality by stabilizing breathing and preventing central apneas without supplemental oxygen. We compared the efficacy of ASV and supplemental oxygen sleep treatments for improving daytime cognitive function and mood in high-altitude visitors (N = 18) during acclimatization to 3,800 m. Each night, subjects were randomly provided with ASV, supplemental oxygen (SpO₂ > 95%), or no treatment. Each morning subjects completed a series of cognitive function tests and questionnaires to assess mood and multiple aspects of cognitive performance. We found that both ASV and supplemental oxygen (O2) improved daytime feelings of confusion (ASV: p < 0.01; O₂: p < 0.05) and fatigue (ASV: p < 0.01; O₂: p < 0.01) but did not improve other measures of cognitive performance at high altitude. However, performance improved on the trail making tests (TMT) A and B (p < 0.001), the balloon analog risk test (p < 0.0001), and the psychomotor vigilance test (p < 0.01) over the course of three days at altitude after controlling for effects of sleep treatments. Compared to sea level, subjects reported higher levels of confusion (p < 0.01) and performed worse on the TMT A (p < 0.05) and the emotion recognition test (p < 0.05) on nights when they received no treatment at high altitude. These results suggest that stabilizing breathing (ASV) or increasing oxygenation (supplemental oxygen) during sleep can reduce feelings of fatigue and confusion but that daytime hypoxia may play a larger role in other cognitive impairments reported at high altitude. Furthermore, this study provides evidence that some aspects of cognition (executive control, risk inhibition, sustained attention) improve with acclimatization.

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