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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The evaluation of a mobile device to measure ataxia with high altitude exposure Boake, Elliott


To our knowledge, no study has used an assessment of ataxia and a finger-tapping task on a mobile device to monitor acclimatization to hypoxia. This research evaluated the utility of this tool in assessing human acclimatization to hypoxia while monitoring the development of acute mountain sickness (AMS). This study used a single-blinded repeated-measures randomized crossover design. Subjects experienced a familiarization trial at a simulated altitude of 2000m, a high altitude simulating 4200m and a sham condition simulating 250m. Measurements of AMS, pulse oxygen saturation and performance of the finger-tapping task were completed immediately prior to, and 5 minutes, 4 hours, and 12 hours following entrance to the chamber. Fifteen healthy male and female subjects were recruited form the Vancouver area. Subjects were between the ages of 19 and 25 years old. Subjects had not traveled to an altitude of 3000m or higher in the 3 months prior to testing. Subjects were excluded if they had any cardiovascular or pulmonary conditions. A repeated-measures ANOVA was performed to analyze if significant results were found for reaction time and accuracy of the finger-tapping task. Accuracy of the finger-tapping task worsened over the exposure to hypoxia, however, error rate and response time were not affected based on this simulated altitude alone. All other measures, including symptom questionnaires and pulse oxygen saturation suggest that these subjects had normal responses to altitude. Based on these findings, it appears that these finger-tapping tasks that focus on measures may be useful while monitoring acclimatization to hypoxia.

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