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Human conscious response to thermal input is adjusted to changes in mean body temperature
  1. Andreas D Flouris (aflouris{at}cereteth.gr)
  1. Dalhousie University, Canada
    1. Stephen S. Cheung (scheung{at}brocku.ca)
    1. Dalhousie University, Canada

      Abstract

      Objective and Design: To detect the dependable criteria of behavioural thermoregulation we modelled temperature fluctuations of individuals allowed to freely manipulate inlet water temperature of a liquid conditioning garment (LCG) during 130-min of passive exposure to -20ºC interspersed with a 10-min period of moderate exercise at the 65th minute using a double-blind experiment.

      Participants: Eleven volunteers (5 females; 23.40±2.09 years; BMI: 23.24±2.19) that lacked previous experience with LCG and cold exposure experiments.

      Results: Despite variations in core and skin temperatures, thermal comfort, thermal sensation, and change mean body temperature did not fluctuate significantly over time. Participants were able to find a desired level of LCG inlet temperature within 25 minutes which was maintained at similar levels until the 65th minute of the cold exposure. During exercise, LCG inlet water temperature decreased significantly. Regression models demonstrated that mean skin temperature and change in mean body temperature were significantly associated with thermal comfort and thermal sensation. Subsequent models revealed that, although all temperature variables were associated with LCG inlet water temperature, the coefficient of determination mainly depended on mean skin temperature and change in mean body temperature. The involvement of skin temperature was anticipated as the liquid conditioning garment was in contact with the skin.

      Conclusions: Humans generate conscious thermoregulatory responses in resting and exercise conditions during exposures to cold environments that are aimed towards maintaining a threshold mean body temperature, rather than temperature changes in individual body regions.

      • behavioural thermoregulation
      • liquid conditioning garment
      • temperature regulation
      • thermal comfort

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