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The following comes from Divernet news:
AGE SEEMS TO PRESENT NO BARRIER TO SAFE DIVING
Research carried out by Duke University Medical Centre, USA, into carbon dioxide retention in healthy divers of different ages has concluded that age presents no significant disadvantage.
Two groups of healthy, volunteer divers took part in the DAN-funded research project; one group in the age range 19 to 39 years old, the other group aged 58 to 74. The researchers simulated a series of dives to 60 feet (18m) in a hyperbaric chamber while monitoring levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the bloodstream of the volunteers, both at rest and during exertion.
All the divers showed far higher retention of carbon dioxide in the bloodstream while at depth, but there was no significant difference in performance between the younger and older divers. Carbon dioxide retention is seen as a key indicator of the body's ability to achieve a balance between the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide, and therefore to cope with the physiological stress of breathing gases under pressure.
"Even while exercising, the older group performed very similarly in all measures as the young people. It was a real shock to me that they did just as well as the younger participants," commented one of the researchers. The research is reported in the February 2003 issue of the Journal of Applied Physiology. 4 February 2003
 
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