Research Topic

Extreme Environments in Movement Science and Sport Psychology

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About this Research Topic

Human studies in extremes environments (altitude hypoxia, microgravity, hyperbaric, and terrestrial extreme climatic conditions) during the last decades have expanded knowledge in physiology, highlighting new routes of regulation, breaking previous old concepts, and offering models of some physiopathological ...

Human studies in extremes environments (altitude hypoxia, microgravity, hyperbaric, and terrestrial extreme climatic conditions) during the last decades have expanded knowledge in physiology, highlighting new routes of regulation, breaking previous old concepts, and offering models of some physiopathological troubles in patients. While some psychological aspects have been explored independently or sometimes combined with physiology, little is known about cognition and neuronal plasticity in extreme environments, although adaptation to extremes is an integrative matter that the body and brain have to solve conjointly. How do peripheral body signals, homeothermic regulation, energy expenditure, and psychological and cognitive functions interact with each other? The next challenging step is understanding how decision making, spatial cognition, emotional aspects, as well as cortical sensory integration supporting self-bodily perception and orientation are influenced by and during extreme missions. The ways humans have adapted ancestrally and how we will adapt to strong and fast environment and climatic changes on Earth requires an integrative approach at the frontiers between cognition, psychology, and physiology. Reviews, reports, and the most recent data will support the preparation for human solar system exploration, firstly to Mars.

Understanding humans coping with extreme environmental or physiological/psychological challenges has helped us to leave our comfortable paradigms built on stable “steady states.” Today's measurement systems allow us to analyze our reactions to intermittent stressors, and follow the oscillations of our coping mechanisms. This new approach has led us to unexpected understandings. This methodology has also directly improved our translational or multidisciplinary approach as well as the idea that studying humans in good health at the extreme could help us to understand either patients with impaired physiological capacities coping with our environment (that becomes extreme to them) or better understanding physiology/psychology of the elderly.

This Research Topic aims to encourage this translational multidisciplinary approach in an integrative way. Contributors do not need to address directly applicable mechanisms, but should aim to better understand human/animal physiology and psychology as a whole. It is foreseen that the topic will also include unexpected results.

Image: DTI fiber tracking of the cingulum and the sagittal stratum (ILF/IFOF), which indicates increase in white matter density following hyperbaric oxygen therapySagol Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Research, by Efrat Sasson, WiseImage


Keywords: Unexpected results, Challenging environments, Neurosciences, Integrative approach, Adaptive


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