Selected scientific publications on diving medicine and physiology.

0206 Feb 15
Serum erythropoietin levels in healthy humans after a short period of normobaric and hyperbaric oxygen breathing: the "normobaric oxygen paradox"
Balestra C, Germonpré P, Poortmans JR, Marroni A.

Renal (peritubular) tissue hypoxia is a well-known physiological trigger for erythropoietin (EPO) production. We investigated the effect of rebound relative hypoxia after hyperoxia obtained under normo- and hyperbaric oxygen breathing conditions. A group of 16 healthy volunteers were investigated before and after a period of breathing 100% normobaric oxygen for 2 h and a period of breathing 100% oxygen at 2.5 ATA for 90 min (hyperbaric oxygen). Serum EPO concentration was measured using a radioimmunoassay at various time points during 24-36 h. A 60% increase (P < 0.001) in serum EPO was observed 36 h after normobaric oxygen. In contrast, a 53% decrease in serum EPO was observed at 24 h after hyperbaric oxygen. Those changes were not related to the circadian rhythm of serum EPO of the subjects. These results indicate that a sudden and sustained decrease in tissue oxygen tension, even above hypoxia thresholds (e.g., after a period of normobaric oxygen breathing), may act as a trigger for EPO serum level. This EPO trigger, the "normobaric oxygen paradox," does not appear to be present after hyperbaric oxygen breathing.

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2016 Dec 1
Do Environmental Conditions Contribute to Narcosis Onset and Symptom Severity?
Lafère P, Balestra C, Hemelryck W, Guerrero F, Germonpré P.

Although many factors contributing to inert gas narcosis onset and severity have been put forward, the available evidence is not particularly strong. Using objective criteria, we have assessed brain impairment associated with narcosis under various environmental diving conditions...

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2016 Sep 5
A red orange extract modulates the vascular response to a recreational dive: a pilot study on the effect of anthocyanins on the physiological consequences of scuba diving.
Balestra C, Cimino F, Theunissen S, Snoeck T, Provyn S, Canali R, Bonina A, Virgili F.

Nutritional antioxidants have been proposed as an expedient strategy to counter the potentially deleterious effects of scuba diving on endothelial function, flow-mediated dilation (FMD) and heart function...

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2016 May 15
Continuous real-time monitoring and recording of glycemia during scuba diving: pilot study
Pieri M, Cialoni D, Marroni A.

Insulin-dependent diabetes has been considered a scuba diving contraindication. This is currently being reconsidered for well-controlled diabetes. We developed a real-time continuous glucose monitor (CGM) to check glycemia, or blood glucose (BG), during diving, both for prospective studies and to increase diabetic diver safety, allowing for real-time control of glycemia and hypoglycemia prevention. To ensure CGM measurement accuracy we tested the method under hyperbaric conditions...

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2015 Dec 1
Cutis Marmorata skin decompression sickness is a manifestation of brainstem bubble embolization, not of local skin bubbles.
Germonpre P, Balestra C, Obeid G, Caers D.

"Cutis Marmorata" skin symptoms after diving, most frequently in the form of an itching or painful cutaneous red-bluish discoloration are commonly regarded as a mild form of decompression sickness (DCS), and treated with oxygen inhalation without reverting to hyperbaric recompression treatment...

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