“Breathing Training to Improve Human Performance at High Altitude”
Individuals traveling to altitudes above 8,000 feet may suffer from impaired exercise and cognitive performance, and acute mountain sickness (AMS). Decreased barometric pressure, which leads to low blood oxygen levels, is the primary cause of these disorders. Symptoms of AMS are characterized by headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, fatigue, and difficulty sleeping. The goal of this research is to identify whether Respiratory Muscle Training will improve physical and cognitive performance, and reduce the symptoms of AMS, at simulated high altitude.
Device - Respiratory Muscle Training
Subjects will breathe through a custom isocapnic Respiratory Muscle Training method developed in-house. The initial breathing frequency will be 30 breaths per minute. Subsequent sessions will begin with 20 minutes of breathing at the highest rate attained on the previous training day. During the last 10 minutes of each session, breathing rate will increase by 1-2 breaths/min.
Device - Sham Breathing Training
Each subject in the sham group will be prompted to hold his breath for 10 seconds every 30 seconds (two times each minute) while breathing on a circuit visibly identical to that used in Respiratory Muscle Training. The subject will breathe ambient air normally after each breath hold. Each sham session will last 30 minutes total.
Breathing Training to Improve Human Performance at High Altitude