Background: Altitude hypoxia exposure may produce cognitive detrimental adaptations and damage to the brain. We aimed at investigating the effects of trekking and hypoxia on neuropsychological and neuroimaging measures. Methods: We recruited two balanced groups of healthy adults, trekkers (n = 12, 6 F and 6 M, trekking in altitude hypoxia) and controls (gender- and age-matched), who were tested before (baseline), during (5,000 m, after 9 days of trekking), and after the expedition for state anxiety, depression, verbal fluency, verbal short-term memory, and working memory. Personality and trait anxiety were also assessed at a baseline level. Neuroimaging measures of cerebral perfusion (arterial spin labeling), white-matter microstructural integrity (diffusion tensor imaging), and resting-state functional connectivity (functional magnetic resonance imaging) were assessed before and after the expedition in the group of trekkers. Results: At baseline, the trekkers showed lower trait anxiety (p = 0.003) and conscientiousness (p = 0.03) than the control group. State anxiety was lower in the trekkers throughout the study (p < 0.001), and state anxiety and depression decreased at the end of the study in both groups (p = 0.043 and p = 0.007, respectively). Verbal fluency increased at the end of the study in both groups (p < 0.001), whereas verbal short-term memory and working memory performance did not change. No significant differences between before and after the expedition were found for neuroimaging measures. Conclusions: We argue that the observed differences in the neuropsychological measures mainly reflect aspecific familiarity and learning effects due to the repeated execution of the same questionnaires and task. The present results thus suggest that detrimental effects on neuropsychological and neuroimaging measures do not necessarily occur as a consequence of short-term exposure to altitude hypoxia up to 5,000 m, especially in the absence of altitude sickness.

Neuropsychological and Neuroimaging Correlates of High-Altitude Hypoxia Trekking During the "Gokyo Khumbu/Ama Dablam" Expedition

Piervincenzi, Claudia;
2022

Abstract

Background: Altitude hypoxia exposure may produce cognitive detrimental adaptations and damage to the brain. We aimed at investigating the effects of trekking and hypoxia on neuropsychological and neuroimaging measures. Methods: We recruited two balanced groups of healthy adults, trekkers (n = 12, 6 F and 6 M, trekking in altitude hypoxia) and controls (gender- and age-matched), who were tested before (baseline), during (5,000 m, after 9 days of trekking), and after the expedition for state anxiety, depression, verbal fluency, verbal short-term memory, and working memory. Personality and trait anxiety were also assessed at a baseline level. Neuroimaging measures of cerebral perfusion (arterial spin labeling), white-matter microstructural integrity (diffusion tensor imaging), and resting-state functional connectivity (functional magnetic resonance imaging) were assessed before and after the expedition in the group of trekkers. Results: At baseline, the trekkers showed lower trait anxiety (p = 0.003) and conscientiousness (p = 0.03) than the control group. State anxiety was lower in the trekkers throughout the study (p < 0.001), and state anxiety and depression decreased at the end of the study in both groups (p = 0.043 and p = 0.007, respectively). Verbal fluency increased at the end of the study in both groups (p < 0.001), whereas verbal short-term memory and working memory performance did not change. No significant differences between before and after the expedition were found for neuroimaging measures. Conclusions: We argue that the observed differences in the neuropsychological measures mainly reflect aspecific familiarity and learning effects due to the repeated execution of the same questionnaires and task. The present results thus suggest that detrimental effects on neuropsychological and neuroimaging measures do not necessarily occur as a consequence of short-term exposure to altitude hypoxia up to 5,000 m, especially in the absence of altitude sickness.
File allegati a questo prodotto
File Dimensione Formato  
paper_Committeri_hypoxia_2022.pdf

solo gestori archivio

Note: Committeri_Neuropsychological and Neuroimaging Correlates_2022
Tipologia: Versione editoriale (versione pubblicata con il layout dell'editore)
Licenza: Tutti i diritti riservati (All rights reserved)
Dimensione 376.28 kB
Formato Adobe PDF
376.28 kB Adobe PDF   Visualizza/Apri   Richiedi una copia

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11573/1652698
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? 0
  • Scopus 0
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 0
social impact