Selected scientific publications on diving medicine and physiology.

2013 May 2
A critical review of physiological bubble formation in hyperbaric decompression
Papadopoulou V, Eckersley RJ, Balestra C, Karapantsios TD, Tang MX

Bubbles are known to form in the body after scuba dives, even those done well within the decompression model limits. These can sometimes trigger decompression sickness and the dive protocols should therefore aim to limit bubble formation and growth from hyperbaric decompression. Understanding these processes physiologically has been a challenge for decades and there are a number of questions still unanswered. The physics and historical background of this field of study is presented and the latest studies and current developments reviewed. Heterogeneous nucleation is shown to remain the prime candidate for bubble formation in this context. The two main theories to account for micronuclei stability are then to consider hydrophobicity of surfaces or tissue elasticity, both of which could also explain some physiological observations. Finally the modeling relevance of the bubble formation process is discussed, together with that of bubble growth as well as multiple bubble behavior.

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2013 Jun 3
The effect of a passive stretch training protocol on performance during a drop jump in humans
Lévénez M, Theunissen S, Bottero A, Snoeck T, Bruyère A, Tinlot A, Balestra C, Provyn S.

AIM: Our study's aim is to show how a five-week stretch training protocol, based on passive stretching, can change muscle performance during a drop jump (stretch shortening cycle). METHODS: This study observes in 8 healthy subjects (four males and four females), the effect of a 5-week passive stretch training protocol on the stretch shortening cycle (SSC) during the performance of a drop jump, and identify the architectural changes in the muscle. Subjects underwent measurements of their drop jump performance 3 times before, and 3 times after, the stretch training protocol. For the muscle tendon unit (MTU), changes were measured using the Hawkins and Hull's model. In order to calculate the length changes in the MTU, we measured the ankle and knee angles. For changes in the fascicle, the pennation angle and the thickness of the gastrocnemius medialis (GM) muscle were measured.

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2013 Mar 1
Can the normobaric oxygen paradox (NOP) increase reticulocyte count after traumatic hip surgery?
Lafère P, Schubert T, De Bels D, Germonpré P, Balestra C.

STUDY OBJECTIVE: To determine if the normobaric oxygen paradox (NOP) was effective in increasing reticulocyte count and reducing postoperative requirements for allogeneic red blood cell transfusion after traumatic hip surgery.

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2013 Sep 1
Functional comparison between critical flicker fusion frequency and simple cognitive tests in subjects breathing air or oxygen in normobaria
Hemelryck W, Rozloznik M, Germonpré P, Balestra C, Lafère P.

Measurement of inert gas narcosis and its degree is difficult during operational circumstances, hence the need for a reliable, reproducible and adaptable tool. Although being an indirect measure of brain function, if reliable, critical flicker fusion frequency (CFFF) could address this need and be used for longitudinal studies on cortical arousal in humans...

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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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