Environmental extremes: origins, consequences and amelioration in humans

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Professor Sir George Lindor Brown (1903–1971) is known for his pioneering research into cholinergic neuromuscular transmission. However, during WWII he worked in hyperbaric physiology and his research into underwater physiology greatly improved the safety of divers. It is perhaps fitting therefore that this review, which accompanies the Physiological Society's GL Brown lecture for 20151, explores the impact and mitigation of the environmental stresses which, to varying extents, have shaped our past, threaten our present and inform our future. From a whole-body, integrative perspective, this review examines our current understanding of micro-gravity, hypo- and hyperbaria, heat, cold air and cold water as both individual as well as combined stresses. Consideration is given to ways of mitigating the threat posed by environmental extremes, including the differing extents to which humans can demonstrate adaptation to them. Finally, recommendations for further study are suggested that might result in both direct and indirect insights.

1The GL Brown lecture is given in memory of the distinguished physiologist Sir George Lindor Brown (1903-1971). It is aimed at a younger audience with a view to stimulating an interest in physiology. M. Tipton gave the GL Brown lecture in 2015 at (chronological order) the Universities of Keele, Cambridge, Westminster, Bath, Portsmouth, Trinity College Dublin, Brighton, Sheffield and at the Physiological Society, London.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
JournalExperimental Physiology
Issue number1
Early online date22 Sept 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


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