Forums: Skydiving: General Skydiving Discussions:
Skydiving and the brain

 


PlaneTrouble

Oct 26, 2012, 7:13 AM
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Skydiving and the brain Can't Post

Hey guys I'm new to the sport, I'm a professional pilot and scuba diver looking to get into the skydiving realm. I graduated with a biology degree with an emphasis in neurobiology. I was wondering if there were any deleterious effects of skydiving on the human brain, affecting cognitive performance etc? Any physicians or neuroscientist (or anybody) jump junkies on the forums that could shed some light on the subject.


GLIDEANGLE  (D 30292)

Oct 26, 2012, 7:24 AM
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Re: [PlaneTrouble] Skydiving and the brain [In reply to] Can't Post

It is my un-scientific impression that:

-- The rush of a jump punches the same plearure center buttons as some recreational drugs and thus can result in the same addiction-like behaviors.

--Saturday nights at the DZ can impair cognitive performance Sunday morning. Beer!


jimmytavino  (A 3914)

Oct 26, 2012, 7:30 AM
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Re: [PlaneTrouble] Skydiving and the brain [In reply to] Can't Post

 
Smile
well i have found that it Helps to START out with a certain amount of "brains".....

lots to learn
lots to implement
lots to remember...

of course, AFTER being IN the sport for a while... AND associating with "the regulars".....
As far as maintaining that brainpower is concerned....
ALL bets are OFF!!!!!!!

good luckWink

jmy
Cool


mr2mk1g  (C 103449)

Oct 26, 2012, 7:54 AM
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Re: [PlaneTrouble] Skydiving and the brain [In reply to] Can't Post

No, it's fine.

The worst thing I can think of is that it involves limited time in a rarified oxygen environment. We top out at 15,000 max without supplemental O2 - at that altitude time of useful consciousness is 30 minutes and we're rarely up that high for more than a couple of minutes.

Perhaps opening shock on a really really bad hard opening might have a risk of whiplash induced concussion... but such hard openings are extremely rare events and frankly - it's an injury caused by an extreme event. That can happen in any realm and hell, our understanding of it comes from car accidents.

I would put it in the same box as the risk of sustaining a brain injury from a hard landing (which again, is a relatively rare even caused by a series of errors). It is not something that is inherent in skydiving.

As a pilot, you'll travel faster and are probably more often exposed to lower O2 environments than any skydiver is. The days when we thought people might go mad if they went more than 30mph on this new fangled steam engine technology are long gone.

Adrenal burnout? It's not that exciting. Once you've done 50 jumps or so the fear factor is largely gone and it's no more frightening or exciting than any other sport you might engage in. Sure it's a great sport... but I don't think I'm any more excited at the end of a skydive than you average joe is after their home team's football game or a roller coaster ride - far less probably actually.

Putting your neurobiology hat on, by what mechanism do you think there might be an effect on the human brain? I bet any you come up with are due to you not yet understanding the forces skydivers are subjected to.

edited to add:
I've got it - BEER! We have beer rules and lots of people crack a beer at the end of the day. There's the most likely impact on your brain. The beer you have with your jump buddies! We drink too much of the make-you-stupid juice.


(This post was edited by mr2mk1g on Oct 26, 2012, 8:08 AM)


skyjumpenfool  (Student)

Oct 26, 2012, 9:15 AM
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Re: [PlaneTrouble] Skydiving and the brain [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Hey guys I'm new to the sport, I'm a professional pilot and scuba diver looking to get into the skydiving realm. I graduated with a biology degree with an emphasis in neurobiology. I was wondering if there were any deleterious effects of skydiving on the human brain, affecting cognitive performance etc? Any physicians or neuroscientist (or anybody) jump junkies on the forums that could shed some light on the subject.

No! It's all good. These skydivers you see were all like this before they started jumping. Smile


dthames  (B 37674)

Oct 26, 2012, 10:34 AM
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Re: [PlaneTrouble] Skydiving and the brain [In reply to] Can't Post

I have noticed with any hobby that I get attached to that I am often thinking about it when I need to be doing other things. If you are thinking about freefall while you are doing your professional pilot thing, that might be bad. Or trying to swoop your Astra thinking you would like to be under canopy.

I have never had jump give me a "rush" like some people get. It is a time of intense focus on what you are doing. It may be similar to driving an old car at 120 MPH.

As long as you don't hit your head while skydiving, I would not think your brain would suffer any.


PlaneTrouble

Oct 26, 2012, 11:20 AM
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Re: [mr2mk1g] Skydiving and the brain [In reply to] Can't Post

Your second to last paragraph is pretty spot on. I wondered about the forces on the body and brain during free fall and canopy opening. And no you are correct there's a lot I need to learn on the matter.

I'm a HUGE fan of the make-you-stupid juice... Hell I'm a pilot after all

I appreciate all the repsonses!


CarpeDiem3  (D License)

Oct 26, 2012, 3:55 PM
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Re: [PlaneTrouble] Skydiving and the brain [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
I was wondering if there were any deleterious effects of skydiving on the human brain...

I'll take the opposite approach.

It enhances the human brain. Your mental focus will improve. Your ability to think and react under pressure will improve. Your perception will improve, allowing you to take in all kinds of things happening all around you while in freefall and under canopy.


Mr_Polite  (D 420)

Oct 26, 2012, 4:02 PM
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Your brain is more likely to get hurt because of excessive drinking after hours at the dz. More than likely the most damage will be done to your walletWink


FlyingRhenquest  (B 37920)

Oct 26, 2012, 4:05 PM
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Re: [PlaneTrouble] Skydiving and the brain [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
Your second to last paragraph is pretty spot on. I wondered about the forces on the body and brain during free fall and canopy opening. And no you are correct there's a lot I need to learn on the matter.

I'm a HUGE fan of the make-you-stupid juice... Hell I'm a pilot after all

I appreciate all the repsonses!

Freefall's not particularly rough other than the altitude you start at. Unless you decide to spin up like a blender and make all the blood rush to or away from your brain. If you do that, your instructors will probably yell at you (If you survive the experience.)

My first few openings were rough enough to make bruises where the harness comes in contact with my body, but the didn't feel like a car wreck or getting hit in the head with a baseball bat or anything (Yes, I know what those things feel like.)

Once I got the body position down and started pulling from a stable position, they got much smoother. Unless you seriously screw up your pack job or something, they should be well below the threshold for "Brain damaging."

I can't think of any way to sustain brain damage on any landing that would even be remotely classifiable as "Normal." You might snap your femurs like twigs if you do something stupid, but your brain should be OK! And get to enjoy those femurs snapping in glorious hi-def! Yeah!


suuz83  (B 716290)

Oct 26, 2012, 11:22 PM
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Re: [mr2mk1g] Skydiving and the brain [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:

As a pilot, you'll travel faster and are probably more often exposed to lower O2 environments than any skydiver is.

Faster yes, but you'll never notice the relative speed in an airliner.

Also max cabin altitude is around 6-8000 ft max so unless you're just doing hop & pops, as skydiver you will have a lot more exposure to lower O2.

Another thing is the radiation which you have at high altitudes and they say it is bad for airline crew but you will not really get exposed to that during skydiving.


TDFbound

Oct 27, 2012, 7:41 PM
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Re: [mr2mk1g] Skydiving and the brain [In reply to] Can't Post

Time of useful consciousness at 15,000 is only thirty minutes? I must be doing it wrong- climbing mountains around that high, I have lasted days until I decide to climb back down.


wolfriverjoe  (A 50013)

Oct 28, 2012, 6:02 AM
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In reply to:
Time of useful consciousness at 15,000 is only thirty minutes? I must be doing it wrong- climbing mountains around that high, I have lasted days until I decide to climb back down.

Well, technically, it's "30 minutes or more."

And it's for the "average indiviudal."
A few people have done Everest without oxygen. I would consider them far from "average" (TUC at 28k is around 3 min).

Kinda like LD-50, the standard for lethal doses of poisons or medications. Different individuals will have different tolerances. Some higher, some lower.

Wiki Clicky


Divalent  (C 40494)

Oct 28, 2012, 12:22 PM
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Re: [wolfriverjoe] Skydiving and the brain [In reply to] Can't Post

In reply to:
In reply to:
Time of useful consciousness at 15,000 is only thirty minutes? I must be doing it wrong- climbing mountains around that high, I have lasted days until I decide to climb back down.

Well, technically, it's "30 minutes or more."

And it's for the "average indiviudal." ... Kinda like LD-50, the standard for lethal doses of poisons or medications. Different individuals will have different tolerances. Some higher, some lower.

More importantly, these are estimates for an individual who is acclimated to sea level. Even one day at an intermediate altitude will extend the range that can be tolerated. There are short term (~1 day) and longer term (~ several days +) processes that are involved in acclimation. A Floridian who intends to hike/camp in the mountains of Colorado would be well advised to spend at least a day in Denver before hitting the trail head.

I wonder if DZ's in Colorado and other elevated places have an acclimation policy for flat-landers who show up. I mean, if they go to 12,000 ft AGL, that would be > 17,000 ASL. For a local, that is probably not an issue to do without supplemental O2, but for someone who just flew in from the coast, it might be risky.


FlyingRhenquest  (B 37920)

Oct 28, 2012, 2:49 PM
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Re: [Divalent] Skydiving and the brain [In reply to] Can't Post

Yeah. Whenever I get a visitor from out east, I love to take 'em up to trail ridge road (12,500 feet above sea level) on the first day and watch 'em fall over when they get out of the car.

I could have taken my sister and niece on a tandem the first day they were here, but wanted to give them a few days to get used to the altitude before going up in a plane. They didn't have any trouble at 12500 AGL a few days later, for the few minutes they were at that altitude.

I also get superpowers when I go back to sea level :-D



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