Top thesis award for sports scientist

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A SPORTS scientist from the University of Portsmouth has won a national award for her dissertation.

Dr Heather Lunt received the Professor Tom Reilly doctoral dissertation of the year award for her thesis on cold water immersion having an effect on how the body performs at altitude.

Dr Lunt said: ‘I’m delighted to receive this award. My research showed repeatedly exposing individuals to cold water can impact on their response to exercise in a simulated altitude environment.

‘Although much further work is required, this may have implications both in the medical field and for adventurers going to extreme altitudes.’

Dr Lunt’s study found that repeatedly exposing the human body to cold water dulls the nervous system’s cold-shock response – a gasp reflex followed by rapid uncontrollable breathing and a high heart rate.

Our nervous system also triggers these responses at altitude, so her findings could be used to help people cope in a low oxygen environment.