Breath-hold diving is both a recreational activity, performed by thousands of enthusiasts in Europe, and a high-performance competitive sport. Several 'disciplines' exist, of which the 'no-limits' category is the most spectacular: using a specially designed heavy 'sled,' divers descend to extreme depths on a cable, and then reascend using an inflatable balloon, on a single breath. The current world record for un-assisted descent stands at more than 200 m of depth. Equalising air pressure in the paranasal sinuses and middle-ear cavities is a necessity during descent to avoid barotraumas. However, this requires active insufflations of precious air, which is thus unavailable in the pulmonary system. The authors describe a diver who, by training, is capable of allowing passive flooding of the sinuses and middle ear with (sea) water during descent, by suppressing protective (parasympathetic) reflexes during this process. Using this technique, he performed a series of extreme-depth breath-hold dives in June 2005, descending to 209 m of sea water on one breath of air.En savoir plus
Introduction: There is a need to evaluate the influence of risk factors such as patency of foramen ovale (PFO) or “daredevil” psychological profile on contra-indication policy after a decompression sickness (DCS). Methods: By crossing information obtained from Belgian Hyperbaric Centers, DAN Emergency Hotline, the press, and Internet diving forums, it was possible to be accountable for the majority if not all DCS, which have occurred in Belgium from January 1993 to June 2013.En savoir plus
One of the possible risks incurred while diving is inert gas narcosis (IGN), yet its mechanism of action remains a matter of controversy. Although providing insights in the basic mechanisms of IGN, research has been primarily limited to animal studies. A human study, in real diving conditions, was needed. Twenty volunteers within strict biometrical criteria (male, age 30-40 years, BMI 20-23, non smoker) were selected. They performed a no-decompression dive to a depth of 33 mfw for 20 min and were assessed by the means of critical flicker fusion frequency (CFFF) measurement before the dive, during the dive upon arriving at the bottom, 5 min before the ascent, and 30 min after surfacing. After this late measurement, divers breathed oxygen for 15 min and were assessed a final time. Compared to the pre-dive value the mean value of each measurement was significantly different (p < 0.001). An increase of CFFF to 104 ± 5.1 % upon arriving to the bottom is followed by a decrease to 93.5 ± 4.3 %. This impairment of CFFF persisted 30 min after surfacing, still decreased to 96.3 ± 8.2 % compared to pre-dive CFFF. Post-dive measures made after 15 min of oxygen were not different from control (without nitrogen supersaturation), 124.4 ± 10.8 versus 124.2 ± 3.9 %. This simple study suggests that IGN (at least partially) depends on gas-protein interactions and that the cerebral impairment persists for at least 30 min after surfacing. This could be an important consideration in situations where precise and accurate judgment or actions are essential.En savoir plus
The “Normobaric Oxygen Paradox” (NOP) is a physiologic mechanism that induces an increase of endogenous erythropoietin (EPO) production by creating a state of relative hypoxia in subjects previously exposed to hyperoxia, followed by a rapid return to normoxia.En savoir plus
Decompression sickness (DCS) is a complex and poorly understood systemic disease with wide interindividual resistance variability. We selectively bred rats with a threefold greater resistance to DCS than standard ones. To investigate possible physiological mechanisms underlying the resistance to DCS, including sex-related differences in these mechanisms, 15 males and 15 females resistant to DCS were compared with aged-matched standard Wistar males (n = 15) and females (n = 15). None of these individuals had been previously exposed to hyperbaric treatment. Comparison of the allelic frequencies of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) showed a difference of one SNP located on the X chromosome.En savoir plus
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