Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

High-flying pilots at increased risk of brain lesions

Date:
August 19, 2013
Source:
American Academy of Neurology (AAN)
Summary:
A new study suggests that pilots who fly at high altitudes may be at an increased risk for brain lesions.

A new study suggests that pilots who fly at high altitudes may be at an increased risk for brain lesions. The study is published in the August 20, 2013, print issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

For the study, 102 U-2 United States Air Force pilots and 91 non-pilots between the ages of 26 and 50 underwent MRI brain scans. The scans measured the amount of white matter hyperintensities, or tiny brain lesions associated with memory decline in other neurological diseases. The groups were matched for age, education and health factors.

"Pilots who fly at altitudes above 18,000 feet are at risk for decompression sickness, a condition where gas or atmospheric pressure reaches lower levels than those within body tissues and forms bubbles," said study author Stephen McGuire, MD, with the University of Texas in San Antonio, the US Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine and a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology. "The risk for decompression sickness among Air Force pilots has tripled from 2006, probably due to more frequent and longer periods of exposure for pilots. To date however, we have been unable to demonstrate any permanent clinical neurocognitive or memory decline."

Symptoms affecting the brain that sometimes accompany decompression sickness include slowed thought processes, confusion, unresponsiveness and permanent memory loss.

The study found that pilots had nearly four times the volume and three times the number of brain lesions as non-pilots. The results were the same whether or not the pilots had a history of symptoms of decompression sickness.

The research also found that while the lesions in non-pilots were mainly found in the frontal white matter, as occurs in normal aging, lesions in the pilots were evenly distributed throughout the brain.

"These results may be valuable in assessing risk for occupations that include high-altitude mountain climbing, deep sea diving and high-altitude flying," McGuire said.

The study was supported by the United States Air Force Surgeon General.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Academy of Neurology (AAN). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. S. McGuire, P. Sherman, L. Profenna, P. Grogan, J. Sladky, A. Brown, A. Robinson, L. Rowland, E. Hong, B. Patel, D. Tate, E. S. Kawano, P. Fox, P. Kochunov. White matter hyperintensities on MRI in high-altitude U-2 pilots. Neurology, 2013; 81 (8): 729 DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e3182a1ab12

Cite This Page:

American Academy of Neurology (AAN). "High-flying pilots at increased risk of brain lesions." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 August 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130819162506.htm>.
American Academy of Neurology (AAN). (2013, August 19). High-flying pilots at increased risk of brain lesions. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130819162506.htm
American Academy of Neurology (AAN). "High-flying pilots at increased risk of brain lesions." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130819162506.htm (accessed August 21, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) Contains graphic content. He's only 17. But Johntrell Bowles has wanted to be a doctor from a young age, despite the odds against him. He was recently the youngest participant in a cadaver program at the Indiana University NW medical school. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ramen Health Risks: The Dark Side of the Noodle

Ramen Health Risks: The Dark Side of the Noodle

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) South Koreans eat more instant ramen noodles per capita than anywhere else in the world. But American researchers say eating too much may increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Possible Ebola Patient in Isolation at California Hospital

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 20, 2014) A patient who may have been exposed to the Ebola virus is in isolation at the Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins