Human error remains the primary cause of aviation accidents. It is possible the existence and impact of mild hypoxia is more significant than once believed. A quantitative, repeated measure within-subjects design was used to assess the relationship among the independent variables of B-737-800 altitude, aircrew arterial oxygen saturation (average oxygen saturation for Hypothesis III), and the dependent variable of neurocognitive performance (minimum oxygen saturation for Hypothesis I). Data were collected from 15 Navy Reserve aircrew performing routine duties in their operational environment (12 hour mission consisting of 3 domestic flights). ANOVA was used to discern relations between altitude and minimum oxygen saturations and revealed a significant difference among mean scores over the five conditions (p < .01). For example, Flight 2 mean was 12.6 percentage points less than the post flight mean. MANOVA treatment revealed results which indicated that brain function in general was changing across the four levels and univariate tests indicated significant main effects for Sleep Scale, F (3, 42) = 4.69, p < .01; Simple Reaction Time, F (3, 42) = 3.07, p = .038; and Stroop Color Word F (3, 42) = 5.23, p = <.01. There was no significant change for Code Substitution, F (3, 42) = .88, p = .460, Two Choice Reaction time, F (3, 42) = 2.51, p = .072; Running Memory, F (3, 42) = 1.71, p = .18; Combat Go/No Go, F (3, 42) = 1.68, p = .186; Match to Sample, F (3, 42) = .355, p = .786; or Code Substitution Delayed, F (3, 42) = .97, p = .417. Pearson Correlation indicated a negative correlation for Sleep Scale, r = -.52, p = .047. Neurocognitive performance tests did not demonstrated a correlation, likely due to the small standard deviations for average oxygen saturation levels. Further research would be beneficial to explore hypoxia and performance details. In addition to individual neurocognitive tests, adding a multitask subtest like Synthetic Work (SynWork) would be desirable to determine if differences exist between individual sub-tests presented sequentially and those tasked simultaneously.
|Advisor:||Mustard, Lewis W.|
|School Location:||United States -- Arizona|
|Source:||DAI-B 71/05, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Occupational health, Aerospace engineering, Cognitive psychology|
|Keywords:||Hypoxia, Neurocognitive performance, Oxygen saturation|
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