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Negative neurofunctional effects of frequency, depth and environment in recreational scuba diving: the Geneva "memory dive" study

Slosman, D. O.
De Ribaupierre, Sandrine
Montandon, M.-L.
Allaoua, M.
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Published in British journal of sports medicine. 2004, vol. 38, no. 2, p. 108-114
Abstract OBJECTIVES: To explore relationships between scuba diving activity, brain, and behaviour, and more specifically between global cerebral blood flow (CBF) or cognitive performance and total, annual, or last 6 months' frequencies, for standard dives or dives performed below 40 m, in cold water or warm sea geographical environments. METHODS: A prospective cohort study was used to examine divers from diving clubs around Lac Léman and Geneva University Hospital. The subjects were 215 healthy recreational divers (diving with self-contained underwater breathing apparatus). Main outcome measures were: measurement of global CBF by (133)Xe SPECT (single photon emission computed tomography); psychometric and neuropsychological tests to assess perceptual-motor abilities, spatial discrimination, attentional resources, executive functioning, and memory; evaluation of scuba diving activity by questionnaire focusing on number and maximum depth of dives and geographical site of the diving activity (cold water v warm water); and body composition analyses (BMI). RESULTS: (1) A negative influence of depth of dives on CBF and its combined effect with BMI and age was found. (2) A specific diving environment (more than 80% of dives in lakes) had a negative effect on CBF. (3) Depth and number of dives had a negative influence on cognitive performance (speed, flexibility and inhibition processing in attentional tasks). (4) A negative effect of a specific diving environment on cognitive performance (flexibility and inhibition components) was found. CONCLUSIONS: Scuba diving may have long-term negative neurofunctional effects when performed in extreme conditions, namely cold water, with more than 100 dives per year, and maximal depth below 40 m.
Keywords AdultAnthropometryBrain/radionuclide imagingCerebrovascular CirculationCognition Disorders/etiologyCold Temperature/adverse effectsDiving/adverse effects/physiology/psychologyFemaleHumansMaleMiddle AgedNeuropsychological TestsProspective StudiesPsychometricsTomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon
PMID: 15039241
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Research groups Groupe de recherches A. De Ribaupierre
Nutrition (1038)
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SLOSMAN, D. O. et al. Negative neurofunctional effects of frequency, depth and environment in recreational scuba diving: the Geneva "memory dive" study. In: British journal of sports medicine, 2004, vol. 38, n° 2, p. 108-114. doi: 10.1136/bjsm.2002.003434 https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:5234

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Deposited on : 2010-02-18

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