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HL2040 Physiology in Extreme Environments 7.5 credits

Course memo Autumn 2022-51821

Version 2 – 02/01/2023, 8:52:00 AM

Course offering

Autumn 2022-1 (Start date 29/08/2022, English)

Language Of Instruction

English

Offered By

CBH/Biomedical Engineering and Health Systems

Course memo Autumn 2022

Course presentation

The objectives are to provide the student knowledge concerning physiological responses and medical constraints during exposure to certain harsh environmental conditions, namely: high and low gravitoinertial (G) loads, increased and reduced ambient pressure and hot and cold environments. The course will also highlight how humans make use of different devices, techniques and/or behavioural strategies to withstand such environments.

More information about the course, including the schedule for the fall semester 2023, can be found here: https://www.kth.se/social/course/HL2040/

Headings denoted with an asterisk ( * ) is retrieved from the course syllabus version Autumn 2020

Content and learning outcomes

Course contents

The course will mainly be based on lectures . The lectures will cover physiological responses as well as constraints and countermeasures during exposure to high G loads, weightlessness, increased and reduced ambient pressure and hot and cold climates.

The course will also include demonstrations of a human-use centrifuge, hypo- and hyperbaric pressure chambers and physiological responses during local cold exposure.

In addition, the students will be requested to participate in seminars concerning thermal physiology, altitude physiology, diving & hyperbaric physiology and acceleration & gravitational physiology.

Intended learning outcomes

The objectives are to provide the student knowledge concerning physiological responses and medical constraints during exposure to certain harsh environmental conditions, namely: high gravitoinertial (G) load, weightlessness, increased and reduced ambient pressure and hot and cold environments. The course will also highlight how humans make use of different devices, techniques and/or behavioural strategies to withstand such environments. Upon completion of the course, the student will know about:

•  Physiological responses and medical problems during exposure to cold climates.

• Countermeasures against local cold injuries and hypothermia.

• Physiological responses and medical problems during exposure to hot climates.

• Countermeasures against heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

• Physiological responses and medical problems during exposure to high G loads.

• G-protective behaviour and anti-G garments/measures.

• Physiological responses and medical problems during and following exposure to weightlessness

• Countermeasures against undesirable effects of weightlessness.

• Physiological responses and medical problems during immersion and exposure to high ambient pressures.

• Countermeasures against barotrauma and decompression sickness.

• Physiological responses and medical problems in submarine vehicles.

• Life-support systems in submarines and techniques for free escape from a bottomed submarine.

• Physiological responses and medical problems at high altitudes.

• Countermeasures against acute hypoxia and mountain sickness, and high-altitude acclimatisation.

Learning activities

The course is given on-site, at the facilities of the Division of Environmental Physiology (Berzelius väg 13, Solna).

The course takes place within a 4-week period [excluding the (re-)written examination], and it consists of an introductory lecture, and four (4) modules:

  1. Diving physiology
  2. Altitude physiology
  3. Gravitational physiology
  4. Thermal physiology

Each module, which lasts for one week, contains the following activities:

  • Two lectures: each lecture lasts 2-3 hours.
  • A laboratory demonstration: each demonstation lasts 1-2 hours.
    • Diving physiology: demonstration of hyperbaric pressure chamber
    • Altitude physiology: demonstration of hypobaric pressure chamber
    • Gravitational physiology: demonstration of human-use centrifuge
    • Thermal physiology: demonstration of climatic chamber
  • A seminar: each seminar lasts 2 hours (two seminar groups per module: one in the morning and one in the afternoon; each student is assigned to one of them). Each student:
    • is randonly selected to work on a module,
    • is assigned to a seminar question (i.e., 3-4 seminar questions are presented in total in each module), and
    • is requested to deliver a 15-min oral, evidence-based presentation to his/her peers. The seminar question is assigned to each student during the first (introductory) lecture of the course. The seminar question is based on the materials presented in the lectures; "core" references are also provided.

Participation in the lectures and demonstrations is optional, but highly recommended. To participate actively in demos (i.e., to be exposed to the certain enviromnent), students need to undergo, prior to the demos, a medical examination by the physician of the Environmental Physiology group (the schedule for the medical examination is announced in advanced on the Canvas page of the course).

Participation in the seminars is mandatory. Please, see below information about the assessment. 

 

Detailed plan

Learning Activity Content Attendance
Introduction
Introductory Lecture
  • General info about the course
  • Recapitulation of basics in:
    • physics & nomenclature
    • anatomy & physiology
Mandatory
Module I: Diving physiology
Lecture 1a
  • Basics regarding diving & submarine
  • Problem related to:
    • free diving & immersion
    • scuba diving & depth: gas density, CO retention, nitrogen narcosis, HPNS, O2 toxicity
  • Countermeasures
Optional, but highly recommended
Lecture 1b
  • Problems related to:
    • Decompression
      • barotrauma
      • decompression sickness
      • bone necrosis etc.
    • Diving in a submarine
  • Countermeasures
Optional, but highly recommended
Demo 1 Hyperbaric pressure chamber Optional, but highly recommended
Seminar 1 Peer-teaching Mandatory
Module II: Altitude physiology
Lecture 2a
  • Basics regarding altitude physiology
  • Problems related to:
    • Decompression
    • Acute hypoxia
      • physical capacity
      • mental capacity
  • Subacute hypoxia: AMS, HAP, HACE
Optional, but highly recommended
Lecture 2b
  • Problems related to:
    • Chronic hypoxia
  • High altitude training
  • Countermeasures
Optional, but highly recommended
Demo 2 Hypobaric pressure chamber Optional, but highly recommended
Seminar 2 Peer-teaching Mandatory
Module III: Gravitational physiology
Lecture 3a
  • Basics regarding high-performance aircarft
  • Problems related to high G:
    • cardiovascular
    • respiratory
    • musculoskeletal
    • vestibular/spatial disorientation
  • Countermeasures
Optional, but highly recommended
Lecture 3b
  • Basics regarding space missions
  • Problems related to reduced G:
    • cardiovascular
    • respiratory
    • musculoskeletal
    • vestibular/space motion sickness
  • Countermeasures
Optional, but highly recommended
Demo 3 Human-use centrifuge Optional, but highly recommended
Seminar 3 Peer-teaching Mandatory
Module IV: Thermal physiology
Lecture 4a
  • Basics regarding thermoregulation
  • Problems related to heat stress:
    • Thermoregulation during exercise
    • Heat stroke, heat-induced: syncope, cramps, fever
  • Countermeasures
Optional, but highly recommended
Lecture 4b
  • Problems related to cold stress
    • Hypothermia
    • Local cold injuries
  • Countermeasures
Optional, but highly recommended
Demo 4 Climatic chamber Optional, but highly recommended
Seminar 4 Peer-teaching Mandatory
Written Examination Mandatory
Re-written Examination Mandatory


Schema HT-2020-537
Schema HT-2020-1159

Preparations before course start

Literature

The course literature consists of research papers, review papers, book chapters and the slides from teachers' presentations. All teaching materials are provided in a digital format, and are available on the Canvas page of the course.

Examination and completion

Grading scale

A, B, C, D, E, FX, F

Examination

  • SEM1 - Project Work, 2.5 credits, Grading scale: P, F
  • TENA - Examination, 5.0 credits, Grading scale: A, B, C, D, E, FX, F

Based on recommendation from KTH’s coordinator for disabilities, the examiner will decide how to adapt an examination for students with documented disability.

The examiner may apply another examination format when re-examining individual students.

Final grade according to grade scale A-F.

The section below is not retrieved from the course syllabus:

Project Work (SEM1):

During the seminar session, each student is requested to give a 15-min oral, evidence-based presentation on a question that is assigned by the teacher at the beginning of the course period. Typically, the question constitutes a problem-based issue, requiring a critical approach synthesizing theories and information that has been presented in the lectures.

Each student is assessed for his/her presentation, and is graded with Pass or Fail. If a presenter fails or does not show up, he/she is asked to repeat his/her presentation at a specific day before the written examination. If a student, who is not presenting, does not show up, he/she is requested to deliver a written assignment (2-3 pages maximum) within a 2-week period after the Seminar presentation.

Examination ( TENA ):

The summative assessment of the student consists of a closed-book written examination, which lasts 3 hours and takes place at the end of the course period. Students are required to reply to:

  • Twenty (20) multiple choice questions (with four alternatives): 5 from each module (i.e., thermal, altitude, diving and gravitational physiology); 1 point/question.
  • Twelve (12) short-essay questions: 3 from each module (thermal, altitude, diving and gravitational physiology); 3 points/question.

Each question is posed and marked by the responsible lecturer.

To ensure that students have achieved the basic level of intended learning outcomes (ILOs), they are required at least, E-sufficient description in all modules. The final total grade is the mean of the four grades (all have to be passed) rounding up if the mean is halfway between two grades. If three out of four modules have been passed, and provided that in the failed module the grade is ≥ 5 points, the final total grade is pass with E.

Grading criteria/assessment criteria

Project Work

Learning outcome Fail Pass
Description of the acute and (mal)adaptive physiological responses in a specific environmental extreme Inadequate or poor discussion of the underlying physiological mechanisms of the presented condition/problem Satisfactory or meticulous discussion of the underlying physiological mechanisms of the presented condition/problem
Description of technological/behavioral countermeasures in a specific environmental extreme

Inaccurate countermeasure identification;

Inadequate or poor justification of the countermeasure use 

Accurate countermeasure identification;

Satisfactory or advanced justification of the countermeasure use

 

Written Individual Examination

Learning outcome E D C B A
Description of physiological responses, medical constraints and countermeasures during exposure to high gravitoinertial loads and weightlessness

Sufficient

6.5-7.5 points

Fair 

7.75-9 points

Competent

9.25-10.25 points

Very good 

10.5-11.75 points

Meticulous 

12-14 points

Description of physiological responses, medical constraints and countermeasures during exposure to increased ambient pressure and immersion

Sufficient

6.5-7.5 points

Fair 

7.75-9 points

Competent

9.25-10.25 points

Very good 

10.5-11.75 points

Meticulous 

12-14 points

Description of physiological responses, medical constraints and countermeasures to low ambient pressure

Sufficient

6.5-7.5 points

Fair 

7.75-9 points

Competent

9.25-10.25 points

Very good 

10.5-11.75 points

Meticulous 

12-14 points

Description of physiological responses, medical constraints and countermeasures during exposure to hot and cold climates

Sufficient

6.5-7.5 points

Fair 

7.75-9 points

Competent

9.25-10.25 points

Very good 

10.5-11.75 points

Meticulous 

12-14 points

Grades for the final total grade: A-F

A: ≥85% correct answers (≥48 points) B: <85 ≥75% (~42-47 points)

C: <75 ≥65% (~37-41 points)

D: <65 ≥55% (~31-36 points)

E: <55 ≥45% (~26-30 points)

F: <45% (<25 points)

Opportunity to raise an approved grade via renewed examination

A-E: Even if the student passes the first examination, he/she is free to do the re-examination to improve his/her mark.

Alternatives to missed activities or tasks

Attendance in Lectures and Demonstrations is optional, but highly recommended.

 

Regarding the Seminars: (i) If a presenter fails or does not show up, he/she is asked to repeat his/her presentation at a specific day before the written examination. (ii) If a student, who is not presenting, does not show up, he/she is requested to deliver a written assignment (2-3 pages maximum) within a 2-week period after the Seminar presentation.

Reporting of exam results

The results for the Seminar (SEM1) are reported in Ladok within a week after the completion of the final seminar.

The results for the written examination (TENA) are reported in Ladok within a 2-week period after the examination has taken place. 

Ethical approach

  • All members of a group are responsible for the group's work.
  • In any assessment, every student shall honestly disclose any help received and sources used.
  • In an oral assessment, every student shall be able to present and answer questions about the entire assignment and solution.

Further information

No information inserted

Round Facts

Start date

29 Aug 2022

Course offering

  • Autumn 2022-51821

Language Of Instruction

English

Offered By

CBH/Biomedical Engineering and Health Systems

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