Effects of High Altitude on Morphophysiological Patterns, Perception and Attention Capacity in Students from Putre (3500 m.a.s.l.) and Arica (2 m.a.s.l.), Chile

DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0717-95022014000200036
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Espinoza-Navarro, O. & Graú, S.

Summary

High altitude hypoxia is a stress that triggers several adaptive mechanisms, one of which is how the brain responds to lack of oxygen. The aim of this study was to determine changes in morphological and physiological patterns and in the attention capacity and perception in student populations from the highlands and from a sea level location. Eighty students, aged 14 to 16 years old, both sexes, from the Municipalities of Putre (3500 m.a.s.l.) and Arica (2 m.a.s.l.) participated in this study, with each group composed of 20 women and 20 men. After informed consent was obtained and with the students acceptance, parameters such as weight, height, BMI, heart rate, systolic and diastolic blood pressures were obtained. Subsequently, a psychometric test of attention and perception was applied. The results determined that the population from Putre had less weight and height than students from Arica. Males exhibited a significant decrease in heart rate and women had lower systolic and diastolic blood pressures than in the assessed sea level population. The levels of response in the psycho-technical tests were significantly lower in the population from high altitude, both in males and females. We conclude that high altitude causes changes in morphological and physiological patterns and in responsiveness in psycho-technical tests. However, further studies in psycho-perception are required to delineate the effects that are unique of ethnicity, culture and worldview of the people living in high altitude and their levels of response.

KEY WORDS: Altitude; Andean highlands; Attentional capacity; Psychometrics; Chile.

How to cite this article

ESPINOZA-NAVARRO, O & GRAÚ, S. Effects of high altitude on morphophysiological patterns, perception and attentional capacity in students from Putre (3500 m.a.s.l.) and Arica (2 m.a.s.l.), Chile. Int. J. Morphol., 32(2):593-598, 2014.