Mammalian Breath-Hold Diving

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Sarah Fischer
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About the Paper

I wrote this paper as part of my journey to become an Undersea Medical Officer in the US Navy. While preparing the review, I gained invaluable knowledge and developed a strong interest in the subject, which still persists today. 

The published manuscript, "Physiological Aspects of Mammalian Breath-Hold Diving: A Review" by M.B. Strauss, can be found in Aerospace Medicine. I want to express my gratitude to the Aeromedical Association for allowing me to include this paper, with minor changes, in my Internet Selections after publishing my book, "MasterMinding Diving...Revisited". 

It's pretty incredible that most of the stuff in this paper is still valid today, even though it was written almost 50 years ago. We did make a few changes to the writing to make it clearer and more up-to-date. We also redid the figures using fancy computer graphics. 

Even though people have written a ton of papers since this one, none of them really go into detail about how diving mammals adapt to do their crazy diving, as this paper does. We used a lot of the info from this paper when writing the sections in my Diving Science… Revisited text about mammals and diving.

I hope this connection between the book and the paper resonates with divers and medical professionals alike. 

The unique insights from the two publications are intended to create a profound impact on the diving community. The world of diving is a captivating realm where enthusiasts and professionals delve into the mysteries of the deep blue, and it is essential to bridge the gap between practical knowledge and scientific research.

I also wrote the paper with the intention of allowing divers to gain a deeper understanding of the physiological aspects that govern breath-hold diving. My meticulous review of mammalian breath-hold diving provides readers with critical insights into the human body's extraordinary adaptations during underwater exploration. 

From the cardiovascular adjustments to the management of oxygen stores, this paper elucidates the intricacies of breath-hold diving physiology.

My work also acts as a valuable resource for research, reference, and education for medical professionals. It aligns theory with practice, fostering a more holistic approach to dive-related medical issues. By having access to this comprehensive resource, practitioners can enhance their knowledge and better serve the diving community.

In conclusion, "Physiological Aspects of Mammalian Breath-Hold Diving: A Review" and "MasterMinding Diving...Revisited" underscore the importance of collaboration between scientific research and practical applications in the ever-evolving world of diving. Together, we aim to advance the safety, knowledge, and enjoyment of breath-hold diving for all enthusiasts and practitioners.

Scope and Goals

The physiology aspects of mammalian breath-hold diving are a large one. Several reviews of respiratory and cardiovascular adaptations in diving vertebrates have been done. However, I am not aware of any that integrate other adaptations and adjustments in breath-hold diving with the respiratory and cardiovascular ones.

This review is an attempt to do so. Over 150 references were examined. Subjects such as how aquatic mammals avoid thoracic squeezes and decompression sickness are explained. In addition, information about respiratory accommodations, cardiovascular adjustments, fluid conservation, temperature maintenance, propulsion, and vision of diving mammals including humans in the aquatic environment is presented in this review. Four tables and three charts supplement the written material. The conclusion discusses several potentially practical applications of this material. These include the understanding and treatment of decompression sickness, applications to non-diving clinical medical conditions, and the understanding and prediction of diving performance.

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Free Resources for Every Book Purchase

Get a FREE collection of papers curated by Dr. Michael B. Strauss, covering topics like mammalian diving, decompression science, and disordered decompression when you purchase his book. Discover why decompression sickness occurs and gain deeper insights into underwater exploration through Dr. Strauss' diving science book. 

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