Cognitive decrements do not follow neuromuscular alterations during passive heat exposure

Nadia Gaoua, Justin Grantham, Farid El Massioui, Olivier Girard, Sebastien Racinais

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    26 Citations (Scopus)


    To investigate what triggers cognitive and neuromuscular alterations during passive heat exposure, eight volunteers performed simple (One Touch Stockings of Cambridge, OTS-4) and complex (OTS-6) cognitive tasks as well as neuromuscular testing (maximal isometric voluntary contractions of the thumb with electrical stimulation of the motor nerve and magnetic stimulation of the motor cortex). These tests were performed at the start (T1), after 1h 30min (T2), 3h (T3) and 4h 30min (T4) of exposure in both hot (HOT) (Wet Bulb Globe Temperature [WBGT]=38°±1.4°C) and neutral control (CON) (WBGT=19°±0.3°C) environments. Environmental temperatures were adjusted during the HOT session to induce target core temperatures (Tcore) (T1∼37.3°; T2∼37.8°; T3∼38.3°; T4∼38.8°C). At T1 and T4 the OTS-6 was lower in HOT than in CON in response to the rapid increase in skin temperature and to hyperthermia, respectively. In HOT, the increase in Tcore limited force production capacity possibly via alterations occurring upstream the motor cortex (from Tcore∼37.8°C) but also via a decrement in motor cortical excitability (from Tcore∼38.3°C). These alterations in cortex excitability failed to explain the cognitive alterations that can originate from an additional cognitive load imposed by temperature variations.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)10-19
    Number of pages10
    JournalInternational Journal of Hyperthermia
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2011

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