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OCR for page 433
--> V PERFORMANCE IN COLD AND IN HIGH-ALTITUDE ENVIRONMENTS PART V FOCUSES ON THE MENTAL aspects of performance in the cold and at high altitudes. Chapter 21 describes the adverse changes in mood, behavior, and cognitive performance that accompany exposure to high altitudes. Initial impairments in many critical behavioral functions such as memory, reasoning, and vigilance affect both judgment and rate of performance. These behavioral decrements may be attributable to neurochemical changes. Exposure to hypobaric hypoxia and to extreme cold at high altitudes can cause deficits in mental performance, as noted in Chapter 22. The causal relationship between changes in brain catecholaminergic neurons and the stress that accompanies them is important in understanding the mechanisms that cause the decline in mental function in adverse environments. The use of catecholaminergic agonists like tyrosine and other food constituents such as caffeine may provide a common approach to treating the adverse effects of cold exposure and stress.
OCR for page 434
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