Abstract Title

The effect of mild hypoxia on spatial disorientation

Is this project an undergraduate, graduate, or faculty project?

Undergraduate

group

10-minute Oral Presentation

Authors' Class Standing

Rachel Bauer, Junior Alexandra Orr, Graduate Student

Lead Presenter's Name

Rachel Bauer / Alexandra Orr

Faculty Mentor Name

John French

Abstract

Over the last 10 years, the incidence of hypoxia-related events has increased in US military aviation, including fatalities. Sufficient evidence exists to test the idea that spatial disorientation is influenced by mild hypoxia and may be a root cause of military hypoxic events. Spatial disorientation is the leading cause of fatal general aviation accidents. This research project will evaluate spatial disorientation at 0, 3000 and 9000 feet using an athletic hypoxic training system to present altitude exposures in a blind, repeated measures, and Latin square design. Participants will be evaluated for their ability to stand immobile on a pressure pad after otolith stimulation in a Barany chair and after virtual reality induced optokinetic nystagmus. Electro-oculography and eye tracking will assess the nystagmus. Linking spatial disorientation to mild hypoxia has implications for training pilots to recognize the symptoms of both and for medical conditions involving poor circulation in the elderly that lead to falls.

Did this research project receive funding support (Spark or Ignite Grants) from the Office of Undergraduate Research?

Yes, Spark Grant

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The effect of mild hypoxia on spatial disorientation

Over the last 10 years, the incidence of hypoxia-related events has increased in US military aviation, including fatalities. Sufficient evidence exists to test the idea that spatial disorientation is influenced by mild hypoxia and may be a root cause of military hypoxic events. Spatial disorientation is the leading cause of fatal general aviation accidents. This research project will evaluate spatial disorientation at 0, 3000 and 9000 feet using an athletic hypoxic training system to present altitude exposures in a blind, repeated measures, and Latin square design. Participants will be evaluated for their ability to stand immobile on a pressure pad after otolith stimulation in a Barany chair and after virtual reality induced optokinetic nystagmus. Electro-oculography and eye tracking will assess the nystagmus. Linking spatial disorientation to mild hypoxia has implications for training pilots to recognize the symptoms of both and for medical conditions involving poor circulation in the elderly that lead to falls.