Environmental chamber

The environmental chamber adjoins the BPNRC and is a room-sized sealed unit where climatic conditions can be manipulated; e.g. temperature, humidity and oxygen pressure. Manipulating the latter mimics altitude and increasing altitude creates a hypoxic environment where less oxygen can be extracted by active cells. Why is this of interest to nutritional investigations? Well we can use this safe hypoxic environment to induce cognitive deficits in those at the peak of cognitive functionality. The aim is then to attenuate these deficits with nutritional interventions and demonstrate their ability to preserve cognitive performance during periods of compromise; e.g. times of increased cognitive load or during natural ageing. Hypoxia represents a realistic model here with brain cells becoming less efficient at utilizing blood-borne oxygen molecules with age. This model of ageing in an otherwise young, healthy sample can also often be preferable to testing paradigms immediately in older adults where increased variability, e.g. in health issues, can impact results.

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