FHL3003 Environmental Physiology I, Basic and Theory 7.5 credits

Omgivningsfysiologi I, teoretisk kurs

Offering and execution

Course offering missing for current semester as well as for previous and coming semesters

Course information

Content and learning outcomes

Course contents *

Lectures, seminars, practical demonstrations and literature studies.

Intended learning outcomes *

The comprehensive aim of  the course is to provide the participants with basic knowledge regarding the four main areas of environmental physiology: acceleration physiology, barophysiology (diving and altitude physiology), and thermophysiology

The student shall, after having completed the course, have knowledge and understanding of: 

  • Physical laws and relationships, including terminology and nomenclature, used in environmental physiology.
  • Effects of continuous exposure to increased gravitational force (G-load) on heart and peripheral blood vessels, lungs, skeleton, the vestibular organ, and the central nervous system.
  • Techniques that are used by pilots to help them tolerate high G-loads.
  • Mechanisms of spatial disorientation during flying
  • Effects of reduced gravitational force (micro gravitation) on heart and peripheral blood vessels, lungs, skeleton, the vestibular organ, and the central nervous system.
  • Methods to counteract the functional and structural changes caused by long space flights on heart/blood vessels, muscles, and skeleton. Symptoms of hypoxia and physiological responses during acute (hours/days) altitude exposures.
  • Adaptive mechanisms during long term (days/weeks) and chronic altitude exposures.
  • Symptoms, underlying mechanisms and treatment of "acute mountain sickness" (AMS), "high altitude pulmonary edema", "high altitude cerebral edema" (HACE) and "chronic mountain sickness".
  • Adjustment of circulation and respiration during immersion in water.
  • Physiological effects of large hydrostatic pressures and gas pressures with special emphasis on "high pressure neurological syndrome", oxygen toxicity, and nitrogen narcosis.
  • Problems of decompression in the form of barotrauma and decompression sickness.
  • The structure and function of the thermoregulatory system in man.
  • Thermorgulation in connection with heat stress/physical exercise, and symptoms and mechanisms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
  • Thermorgulation in connection with cold stress, and symptoms and mechanisms of local cold injury and general hypothermia.

Course Disposition

No information inserted

Literature and preparations

Specific prerequisites *

Admitted to post-graduate studies at technological or medical faculty.

Recommended prerequisites

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Förutom sammanfattning av föreläsningar (”handouts”):
Burton R.R. & J.E. Whinnerey. (2002) Biodynamics: Sustained Acceleration. In: Fundamentals of Aerospace Medicine (eds: R.L. Dehart & J.R. Davis). Sid 122-153.
Daniels S, Y. Grossman, P.B. Bennet, J.C. Rostain, J.M. V. Clark & S.R. Thom. (2003) Pressure effects. In: Bennet and Elliot’s Physiology and Medicine of Diving.  Elsevier, Oxford (eds: A.O. Brubakk & T.S. Neuman. Sid: 265-418.
Mekjavic I.B., M.J. Tipton & O. Eiken. (2003). Thermal Considerations in Diving. In: Bennet and Elliot’s Physiology and Medicine of Diving. Elsevier, Oxford (eds: A.O. Brubakk & T.S. Neuman). Sid: 115-152.
Parmet A.J. & K.K Gillingham. (2002) Spatial Orientation in Flight. In: Fundamentals of Aerospace Medicine (Eds: R.L. Dehart & J.R. Davis). Sid 184-244.
Taylor. N.A.S., N. Kondo, W.L. Kenney. (2008). The physiology of acute heat exposure, with implications for human performance in the heat. In: Physiological Basis of Human Performance During work and Exercie. Elsevier, Oxford, (eds: N.G.A. Taylor & H. Groeller). Sid: 341-358.
West, J.B., R.B. Schoene and J.S. Milledge. (2007) High altitude Medicine and Physiology (4th edition), Hodder Arnold, London. Sid: 39-130 och 251-310.

Examination and completion

Grading scale *

P, F

Examination *

    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.

    Oral and written examination.

    Opportunity to complete the requirements via supplementary examination

    No information inserted

    Opportunity to raise an approved grade via renewed examination

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    Ola Eiken

    Further information

    Course web

    Further information about the course can be found on the Course web at the link below. Information on the Course web will later be moved to this site.

    Course web FHL3003

    Offered by

    CBH/Biomedical Engineering and Health Systems

    Main field of study *

    No information inserted

    Education cycle *

    Third cycle

    Add-on studies

    No information inserted


    Professor Ola Eiken, Docent Mikael Gennser, Docent Arne Tribukait

    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.

    Postgraduate course

    Postgraduate courses at CBH/Biomedical Engineering and Health Systems