Mil Med. 2022 Jun 23:usac154. doi: 10.1093/milmed/usac154. Online ahead of print.
In Antarctica, human access and presence are complex and require detailed planning and preparation in advance. The personnel of National Antarctic Programs (NAPs, i.e., scientists and support personnel, including military, civilians, and mountaineers) stay in different isolation, confinement, and extreme (ICE) environments such as ships, research stations, and scientific summer camps. Antarctica imposes harsh conditions that influence physiological and psychological responses impacting health, mood, and physical and cognitive performances. In this context, we argue why people should prepare in advance for staying in Antarctica and what to expect in ICE environments. We also spotlighted recommendations shared by different NAPs participant guides, including predeployment training. Next, we present a case study of the Brazilian Pre-Antarctic Training (PAT), a theoretical-practical training that provides technical and logistical information and assesses the adaptability and physical capacity of researchers and military personnel to perform fundamental activities in a polar environment. We evaluated and compared the individual’s mood at the beginning and the end of the PAT week and observed group-specific mood changes depending on the sex, functions, and the facilities that participants accessed. Finally, we proposed that conducting training before staying in Antarctica, besides promoting conditions to better plan the voyage and knowledge of the region, can contribute to dealing with the possible mood swings during expeditions and even promote positive affect. Therefore, the psychophysiological effects of PAT are topics for further investigations.
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