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Garrido, Marie Astrid; Mark, Lorenz; Parra, Manuel; Nowak, Dennis ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7871-8686 and Radon, Katja ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5271-3972 (2021): Executive Function among Chilean Shellfish Divers: A Cross-Sectional Study Considering Working and Health Conditions in Artisanal Fishing. In: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Vol. 18, No. 11, 5923

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Knowledge about professional diving-related risk factors for reduced executive function is limited. We therefore evaluated the association between decompression illness and executive functioning among artisanal divers in southern Chile. The cross-sectional study included 104 male divers and 58 male non-diving fishermen from two fishing communities. Divers self-reported frequency and severity of symptoms of decompression illness. Executive function was evaluated by perseverative responses and perseverative errors in the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test. Age, alcohol consumption, and symptoms of depression were a-priori defined as potential confounders and included in linear regression models. Comparing divers and non-divers, no differences in the executive function were found. Among divers, 75% reported a history of at least mild decompression sickness. Higher frequency and severity of symptoms of decompression illness were associated with reduced executive function. Therefore, intervention strategies for artisanal divers should focus on prevention of decompression illness.

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