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Chronicles from Concordia

The winter-over syndrome

12 Oct 2018, 08:15 UTC
The winter-over syndrome
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Dr. Carmen Possnig is the ESA-sponsored medical doctor spending 12 months at Concordia research station in Antarctica. She facilitates a number of experiments on the effects of isolation, light deprivation, and extreme temperatures on the human body and mind. In the following post, Carmen discusses life in Antarctica.
The last rays of sunshine on the horizon from the American Tower at the end of April.Credits: IPEV/PNRA–F. Cali Quaglia
After the last run in the gym, I was a little proud of myself because I had run very fast and also for over an hour, which is remarkable with our oxygen content, as I told myself. Pride would not last long.
Reasonably exhausted I wanted to turn off the lights before leaving the gym. I picked up the receiver next to the light switch and stared at the dial. It had slipped my mind which number I had to dial to turn off the light. I stood there for seconds. After some pondering about the depth of winter and the effects of darkness, I found the light switch.
Absence of mind and confusion are part of the winter-over syndrome, an accumulation of symptoms typical of Antarctic expeditions. Most hibernators experience ...

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