Effects of living and working in a hot environment on cognitive function in a quiet and temperature-controlled room: An oil and gas industry study

Journal article


Girard, O., Gaoua, N., Grantham, J., Knez, W., Walsh, A. and Racinais, S. (2021). Effects of living and working in a hot environment on cognitive function in a quiet and temperature-controlled room: An oil and gas industry study. Temperature. https://doi.org/10.1080/23328940.2021.1959289
AuthorsGirard, O., Gaoua, N., Grantham, J., Knez, W., Walsh, A. and Racinais, S.
Abstract

We investigate the effects of seasonal heat stress on cognitive function in outdoor workers. Thirty-nine workers from an oil and gas industry in the Middle-East volunteered for cognitive testing before (5.30 to 7.00 am) and after (3.30 to 5.00 pm) their daily work-shift in hot (August – average daily temperature: ~41°C) and temperate (January – average daily temperature: ~22°C) seasons. While physical activity was reduced in hot compared to temperate season (average normalized acceleration: 96 ± 33 vs. 112 ± 31 × 10−3 g; −12.5 ± 4.7%; P = 0.010), the average core temperature during the work-shift was higher in the hot season (37.4 ± 0.2 vs. 37.2 ± 0.2°C; P = 0.002). Peak core temperature was 38.0 ± 0.1°C and 37.8 ± 0.1°C in hot and temperate seasons, respectively. Cognitive performance did not differ between seasons for tests of recognition memory (P = 0.169), working memory (P = 0.797) and executive function (P = 0.145), independent of testing time. Whereas there was no significant main effect of testing time for tests of recognition memory (P = 0.503) and working memory (P = 0.849), the number of problems solved on the first choice for the executive function test was lower in the afternoon than the morning (−9.2 ± 5.3%; P = 0.039). There was no season × testing time interaction for any cognitive tests (P ≥ 0.145). In the absence of hyperthermia, living and working in a hot environment does not alter cognitive function in oil and gas industry workers tested in a quiet and temperature-controlled room, with reduced clothing encumbrance (relative to work). Conclusions should not be extrapolated to more stressful situations (i.e., thermal stressor present, pronounced dehydration, noise).

KeywordsPhysiology (medical); Physiology
Year2021
JournalTemperature
PublisherInforma UK Limited
ISSN2332-8940
2332-8959
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/23328940.2021.1959289
Funder/ClientThere is no source of funding to declare
Publication dates
Online14 Sep 2021
Publication process dates
Accepted19 Jul 2021
Deposited30 Sep 2021
Accepted author manuscript
License
File Access Level
Open
Additional information

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Temperature on 14/07/2021, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/23328940.2021.1959289

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