Effect of acute hypoxia on cognition: A systematic review and meta-regression analysis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-232
JournalNeuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews
Issue numberMarch
Early online date17 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017
A systematic meta-regression analysis of the effects of acute hypoxia on the performance of central executive and non-executive tasks, and the effects of the moderating variables, arterial partial pressure of oxygen (PaO2) and hypobaric versus normobaric hypoxia, was undertaken. Studies were included if they were performed on healthy humans; within-subject design was used; data were reported giving the PaO2 or that allowed the PaO2 to be estimated (e.g. arterial oxygen saturation and/or altitude); and the duration of being in a hypoxic state prior to cognitive testing was ≤6 days. Twenty-two experiments met the criteria for inclusion and demonstrated a moderate, negative mean effect size (g = −0.49, 95% CI −0.64 to −0.34, p < 0.001). There were no significant differences between central executive and non-executive, perception/attention and short-term memory, tasks. Low (35–60 mmHg) PaO2 was the key predictor of cognitive performance (R2 = 0.45, p < 0.001) and this was independent of whether the exposure was in hypobaric hypoxic or normobaric hypoxic conditions.

    Research areas

  • Arterial partial pressure of oxygen, normobaric, hypobaric, central executive, perception, short-term memory, regional cerebral blood flow, catecholamine, glossypharyngeal nerve, carotid body, internal carotid arteries, vertebral arteries


  • Systematic review and meta (final accepted)

    Rights statement: © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

    Accepted author manuscript, 384 KB, PDF document

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External organisations

  • University of Portsmouth
  • University of Chichester
  • Northumbria University

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