Home News “Flying alters your brain, body, and mood” says University of Cologne study

“Flying alters your brain, body, and mood” says University of Cologne study

Published on 28/10/2019

Airplanes are increasingly sought after as a means of transportation, despite coming under fire from environmental campaigners: not only is it the fastest form of travel, but it has been proven to be the safest.

Researchers have shown that air travel has notable consequences on our bodies, and especially for our brain. Traveling at high altitudes can not only make us more emotional and less cognitive, but can alter our immune system, says the report.

The findings showed that at least 15% of men and 6% of women surveyed say they get more emotional when flying. Which recently, according to the BBC, has even led a well-known airline to issue “emotional health warnings” to passengers boarding the plane – especially for those interested in spending the trip watching movies.

Flying at high altitudes in a sealed metal box alters certain brain functions such as mood and senses also. As air pressure decreases, the amount of oxygen in the blood can decrease from 25% to as low as 6%. This is a situation that, under normal conditions, would be sufficient for doctors to administer supplemental oxygen to the person.

The study points out that flying should not be a worrying scenario for the healthy, but it could be for the elderly and passengers with breathing difficulties. However, even low levels of oxygen deficiency can have harmful effects, such as altered cognition, memory, ability to do calculations, and decision making. The pressure at 2,100 meters can even delay one’s reaction time.

“There is still little research done on the subject, because for healthy people this is not a big risk,” explains Jochen Hinkelbein, president of the German Society of Aerospace Medicine, a doctor working at the University of Cologne. However, he points out, “you have to remember that air travel has become cheaper and more popular,” so “older and less fit people are traveling more,” which is “arousing more interest in the subject. “