Publications

Selected scientific publications on diving medicine and physiology.

2014 Dec 1
A ternary model of decompression sickness in rats
Buzzacott P, Lambrechts K, Mazur A, Wang Q, Papadopoulou V, Theron M, Balestra C, Guerrero F.

Decompression sickness (DCS) in rats is commonly modelled as a binary outcome. The present study aimed to develop a ternary model of predicting probability of DCS in rats, (as no-DCS, survivable-DCS or death), based upon the compression/decompression profile and physiological characteristics of each rat...

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2014 Dec 1
Decompression Theory
apadopoulou V, Chatterton J, Popov G, Eckersley RJ, Balestra C, Karapantsios TD, Tang MX, Cialoni D & Kot J.

By using dive tables or diving computers, divers are effectively using decompression algorithms to manage the risk of developing decompression sickness (DCS). They dictate the time allowed at each depth before the dive converts from no-decompression dive into a decompression dive, as well as the decompression stops needed for a decompression dive (time to spend at various depths on the way up to the surface). These algorithms are calculations that follow from the principles of a given decompression theory; of these, different ones exist with wildly different approaches. It is clear that the principles of those algorithms are very different in terms of what the mathematical modelling translates to in reality. This highlights that we still do not know exactly how bubbles form and grow in the body and when they trigger DCS.

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2014 Dec 1
Long term effects of recreational SCUBA diving on higher cognitive function
Hemelryck W, Germonpré P, Papadopoulou V, Rozloznik M, Balestra C.

We investigated long-term effects of SCUBA diving on cognitive function using a battery of neuropsychometric tests: the Simple Reaction Time (REA), Symbol Digit Substitution (SDS), Digit Span Backwards (DSB), and Hand-Eye Coordination tests (EYE). A group (n = 44) of experienced SCUBA divers with no history of decompression sickness was compared to non-diving control subjects (n = 37), as well as to professional boxers (n = 24), who are considered at higher risk of long term neurological damage...

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2014 Dec 1
Preconditioning as a tool to improve diving safety
Balestra C, Blatteau J, Gempp E & Rozloznik M

Vascular gas bubbles are considered the principal element in decompression sickness (DCS) development. Traditionally these bubbles were called VGE (venous gas emboli), however scientific knowledge indicates that similar bubbles may also be present in the arterial circulation, therefore we propose to use “VGE” for “Vascular Gas Emboli”, and we will do so throughout the text. Reduction of VGE production represents an interesting endpoint to decrease decompression stress and DCS risk. Here we will discuss state of the art pre-dive techniques and approaches, commonly known as preconditioning, used to reduce post-dive VGE load and decompression stress. Evidence based approaches clearly show that some types of preconditioning are more potent in VGE reduction, some indecompression stress reduction and there are some with a positive impact on both. Nevertheless, further research is required to investigate the mechanisms underlying these positive effects.

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2014 Dec 1
The Science of Diving
Balestra C & Germonpre P.

Decompression illnesses (DCI), or as they are called more scientifically: dysbaric disorders, represent a complex spectrum of pathophysiological conditions with a wide variety of signs and symptoms related to dissolved gas and its subsequent phase change.1,2 Any significant organic or functional dysfunction in individuals who have recently been exposed to a reduction in environmental pressure (i.e., decompression) must be considered as possibly being caused by DCI until proven otherwise.

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