The effect of season, occupation and repeated winterings on anthropologic and physiological characteristics in Russian antarctic staff.

V. Belkin, D. Karasik

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Abstract

Thirty anthropometric and ten physiological parameters were examined over a 10-month-period in 1985-86, in 66 male polar explorers, aged 25-61 years, at an Antarctic station (Mirny observatory). For 30 of these persons this was their first wintering in Antarctic while the remaining 36 had wintered there at least once before. The mentioned measurements were taken on 3 different occasions in April, September and January corresponding in the Antarctic to the beginning of the polar night and interim season period and the beginning of the polar day. Subjects of the investigation belonged to 3 occupational groups: administrative personnel, scientific staff, and manual laborers. Extended statistical analysis of the data was carried out in an attempt to distinguish the dynamics of the studied parameters in relation to the season of wintering (Climate), the number of previous winterings (Frequency), the type of occupation (Work), and their interactions. Multifactorial statistical analyses were also performed, so as to adjust for age of subjects, which is a requisite for evaluating the factor of repeating winterings, obviously age-related. Changes in a number of characteristics were clearly recognized as connected with the factor of repeating winterings, to wit: 1) Anthropometric parameters such as or subcutaneous fat and relative muscle mass; 2) Parameters pertaining to speed of neuromuscular response such as wrist muscle effort, or time of simple motor response; and 3) Physiological parameters encompassing vascular--blood pressure and respiratory--spirometric measurements. CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that frequency of repeated winterings is not a leading factor influencing physical status of examinees. Occupational status of examinees alone or in interaction with repeated winterings and seasonal climatic factors have more prominent impact on the well-being of polar explorers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-51
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Circumpolar Health
Volume60
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2001
Externally publishedYes

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