Date of Award
Restricted Access Thesis
Master of Science
Field of Study
Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
Peter B. Raven
Westerholm, Erin C., Interactive Effects of Mental and Physical Stress on Cardiovascular Control. Master of Science (Biomedical Sciences, Integrative Physiology), August, 1998, 42 pp., 1 table, 13 figures, 35 references. Mental task and exercise often occur together. Physiological responses to each of these stressors have been studied independently, yet the interactive effects of these stressors are unknown. Hypothesis: Combined mental and physical stress will produce a synergistic interaction. Methods: Twelve healthy subjects were studied by measuring cardiovascular responses to five minutes of static left handgrip alone (25-35% of maximal handgrip strength), mental arithmetic alone, and combined stimuli in random order. Sympathetic nerve activity (SNA, microneurography), mean arterial blood pressure (MAP, Finapres), heart rate (HR, ECG), and vascular resistance (Doppler) were measured. Results: Physical and combined stressors significantly changed SNA, MAP, HR, and FVR. SNA responses to handgrip and the combined stimuli exceeded responses to mental arithmetic alone (p<0.05), yet no significant difference existed between responses to handgrip alone and the combined stimuli (p=0.33). The three stimuli increased heart rate similarity (p<0.0006). Conclusion: The data refuted the hypothesis: mental task did not synergistically interact or even add to the stress response elicited by handgrip exercise. Thus these data suggest that mental task and static exercise interact in a redundant manner.
Westerholm, E. C.
"Interactive Effects of Mental and Physical Stress on Cardiovascular Control" Fort Worth, Tx: University of North Texas Health Science Center;