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Combined effects of sleep deprivation and strenuous exercise on cognitive performances during The North Face (R) Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (R) (UTMB (R))

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Abstract This study investigated the effects of combined sleep deprivation and strenuous exercise on cognitive and neurobehavioral performance among long-distance runners completing one of the most difficult ultramarathons in the world. Seventeen runners participated. Each had a wrist-worn actigraph throughout the race to record their sleep time. In addition, each individual's performance in 10-min response-time tests before and after the race was recorded and a questionnaire enabled participants to report any difficulties they experienced during the competition. During race completion times of 27 to 44 h, combined acute lack of sleep (12 ± 17 min of rest during the race) and strenuous exercise (168.0 km) had marked adverse effects on cognitive performances ranging from mere lengthening of response time to serious symptoms such as visual hallucinations. This study suggests that regardless of rest duration and time in race, cognitive performances of ultramarathoners are adversely affected.
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Combined effects of sleep deprivation and strenuous
exercise on cognitive performances during The North
Face® Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc® (UTMB®)
Rémy Hurdiela, Thierry Pezéa, Johanna Daughertyb, Julien Girardc, Mathias Pousseld,
Laurence Polettie, Patrick Bassetf & Denis Theunyncka
a Laboratoire URePSSS-ReLACS, Université du Littoral Côte d’Opale, Dunkerque, France
b Miller School of Medicine, University of Miami, Atlantis FL, USA
c Service d’Orthopédie C, CHRU Salengro, Domaine Universitaire Médecine et Sport, Lille,
France
d Faculté de Médecine - Laboratoire DevAH, Université de Lorraine, Nancy, France
e Service de Réadaptation Cardiaque, CHU de Grenoble, Grenoble, France
f Dokever, Pierre-Bénite, France
Published online: 21 Oct 2014.
To cite this article: Rémy Hurdiel, Thierry Pezé, Johanna Daugherty, Julien Girard, Mathias Poussel, Laurence Poletti, Patrick
Basset & Denis Theunynck (2014): Combined effects of sleep deprivation and strenuous exercise on cognitive performances
during The North Face® Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc® (UTMB®), Journal of Sports Sciences, DOI: 10.1080/02640414.2014.960883
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2014.960883
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Combined effects of sleep deprivation and strenuous
exercise on cognitive performances during The North Face®
Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc® (UTMB®)
RÉMY HURDIEL
1
, THIERRY PEZÉ
1
, JOHANNA DAUGHERTY
2
, JULIEN GIRARD
3
,
MATHIAS POUSSEL
4
, LAURENCE POLETTI
5
, PATRICK BASSET
6
&
DENIS THEUNYNCK
1
1
Laboratoire URePSSS-ReLACS, Université du Littoral Côte dOpale, Dunkerque, France,
2
Miller School of Medicine,
University of Miami, Atlantis FL, USA,
3
Service dOrthopédie C, CHRU Salengro, Domaine Universitaire Médecine et
Sport, Lille, France,
4
Faculté de Médecine - Laboratoire DevAH, Université de Lorraine, Nancy, France,
5
Service de
Réadaptation Cardiaque, CHU de Grenoble, Grenoble, France and
6
Dokever, Pierre-Bénite, France
(Accepted 29 August 2014)
Abstract
This study investigated the effects of combined sleep deprivation and strenuous exercise on cognitive and neurobehavioral
performance among long-distance runners completing one of the most difcult ultramarathons in the world. Seventeen
runners participated. Each had a wrist-worn actigraph throughout the race to record their sleep time. In addition, each
individuals performance in 10-min response-time tests before and after the race was recorded and a questionnaire enabled
participants to report any difculties they experienced during the competition. During race completion times of 27 to 44 h,
combined acute lack of sleep (12 ± 17 min of rest during the race) and strenuous exercise (168.0 km) had marked adverse
effects on cognitive performances ranging from mere lengthening of response time to serious symptoms such as visual
hallucinations. This study suggests that regardless of rest duration and time in race, cognitive performances of ultramar-
athoners are adversely affected.
Keywords: ultraendurance, sleep, performance, individual differences
Introduction
Over the past decade, there has been a considerable
increase in the number of competitors in extreme
endurance events, especially ultramarathons that are
longer than conventional marathons of 42 km
(Hoffman, 2010; Rüst, Knechtle, Rosemann, &
Lepers, 2013). These ultra-endurance races are typi-
cally held over harsh terrain such as mountains,
deserts, or other wilderness, and make severe
demands on the physical and psychological capabil-
ities of participants (Lahart et al., 2013; Lucas,
Anson, Palmer, Hellemans, & Cotter, 2009).
Despite metabolic and muscular limitations (Millet
& Millet, 2012), it is well-established that runners
accomplish these races with minimal sleep (Millet
et al., 2011), but so far there has been a lack of
objective data that relates actual sleep times. Even
though endurance events can last several days
(Saugy et al., 2013), sleeping or napping is often
viewed as a weakness that jeopardises performance
or even completion of a race in the allotted time. As
a result, runners frequently attempt not to sleep,
although the consequences of their sleep deprivation
have not been studied extensively.
Another important aspect of ultra-endurance events
is participantsattentiveness and awareness of their
environment. Indeed, both acute and chronic sleep
deprivation negatively impact on attention span and
concentration (Belenky et al., 2003;Dinges&Kribbs,
1991). For example, sleep deprivation in solo ocean
racing endangers participants and is associated with
impairments such as auditory or visual hallucinations
(Hurdiel et al., 2012). Even when athletes manage
their sleep, such as with short naps, there is little evi-
dence to indicate how this should be accomplished
during extended athletic performance.
Therefore, the goal of this study was to quantify
sleep in runners during a 168 km ultramarathon and
so gain insight into sleep deprivations effect on cog-
nitive performance.
Correspondence: Rémy Hurdiel, Laboratoire URePSSS-ReLACS, Université du Littoral Côte dOpale, Dunkerque, France. E-mail: remy.hurdiel@orange.fr
Journal of Sports Sciences, 2014
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2014.960883
© 2014 Taylor & Francis
Downloaded by [81.65.47.131] at 09:26 27 October 2014
Methods
Participants
To qualify for participation in the race, all runners
had independently completed at least two ultramara-
thons with marked positive altitude change in the
previous two years. Twenty-four of the 2469 contest-
ants who took part in The North Face® Ultra Trail
du Mont Blanc® (UTMB®) in 2013 were recruited.
Of these, seventeen participants (71%), including 16
men and 1 woman, age (mean ± standard deviation)
43.4 ± 6.4 years; Stature1.72 ± 0.06 m; Body mass
66.6 ± 8.9 kg; Body Mass Index 22.2 ± 1.5, nished
the race and completed the study protocol. The race
was 168.0 km long with 9,600 m of positive altitude
change. Course start time was 16:30 on Friday, 30
August 2013, with the total race time ranging from
approximately 27 to 44 h among enlisted study par-
ticipants. Each participant slept at his/her discretion
during the race.
Participants were free from apparent sleep disor-
ders, as assessed by a brief screening interview that
investigated insomnia, daytime sleepiness, snoring,
restless legs syndrome and medication use for
insomnia. The medical board of the UTMB®
approved the study approximately six months before
the race date.
Sleep/wake schedule recordings
Activity recordings began the day before the start of
the race and ended a few minutes to an hour after
the nish. Sleep/wake schedules were recorded using
a waterproof wrist-worn triaxial actigraph (GT3X,
TheActiGraph, Pensacola, FL, USA) that took sam-
ples at 30 Hz and recorded activity counts in 1 min
intervals.
Sleep time was determined by the device using the
vector magnitude VM = (x
2
+y
2
+z
2
), where
VM < 150 counts/min (Kozey-Keadle, Libertine,
Lyden, Staudenmayer, & Freedson, 2011).
Additionally, ambient light was recorded to deter-
mine lights-off duration at home the night before the
race. Finally, self-reported rest times were collected
through a questionnaire after the race to differentiate
rest time and possible time spent not wearing the
actigraph as recommended in the literature (Kushida
et al., 2001).
Cognitive performance
Objective psychomotor vigilance performance was
evaluated in the laboratory of the École Nationale de
Ski et dAlpinisme (ENSA, Chamonix, France) the
day before the race between 10:27 and 19:01 and a
second time shortly after the nish. The delay
between the nish and beginning of the psychomotor
test was 43.7 ± 58.8 min. This assessment com-
prised simple 10-min serial response time tests
(Wilkinson & Houghton, 1982). The number of
mistakes termed errors of omission(e.g., lapses
of attention, historically dened as response time
500 ms) plus errors of commission(e.g.,
responses without a stimulus, false starts, or
response time <100 ms) was the primary outcome
measure. Mean response time was also calculated.
Questionnaire
Immediately after the nish, each participant com-
pleted a ve-min electronic questionnaire on a stan-
dard PC. The survey addressed (i) rest and activity
before and during the race to complement measured
actigraph data and (ii) disturbances during the race
linked to sleep deprivation, including sensation of
irrepressible sleepiness, hallucinations, stumbling,
and other issues through an open-ended question.
Statistical analysis
Paired t-tests compared before and after cognitive
performance results. The 95% condence intervals
(Mean ± t
0.025
(Standard Deviation/Sample size))
were determined for each outcome measure before
and after the race. In addition, Cohens d, an effect
size, was calculated as the difference between the
means (before and after the race) divided by the
standard deviation before the race. Cohensd
was used to evaluate the magnitude of mean before-
and-after race test differences. We considered d 0.2
as a small effect size, 0.5 as a medium effect size and
0.8 as a large effect size. As it has been reported in
solo sailors (Hurdiel et al., 2014), we thought that the
fastest participants would not rest, whereas beyond a
certain running time sleep would appear almost
systematically. Thus, because of the small sample
size, the relationship between rest duration and race
duration were tested and limited to both a linear and
a second-order polynomial regression analysis,
hypothesis testing was conducted using Pearsons
correlation. The type 1 error threshold was set at
0.05. Analyses were performed using the R software
package, version 3 (http://www.r-project.org/).
Results
Sleep data
Of 1685 total nishers, our study participants ranked
from 63rd to 1389th place.
The following data are given with mean ± stan-
dard deviation.
Actigraph recordings revealed a mean rest time of
9 h 53 min ± 59 min in bed the night before the race,
2R. Hurdiel et al.
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with a range of 8 h 12 min to 10 h 58 min. The
runners tended to wake up at 08:20 ± 50 min on
race day. Mean race time was 36 h 02 min ± 7 h
18 min. Mean duration of sleep deprivation
(between wake-up time on race day and the nish
line time) was 46 h 38 min ± 5 h 20 min.
Actigraph data indicated 12 ± 17 min of rest dur-
ing the race, comprising 1.2 ± 1.4 naps. Naps lasted
9 ± 5 min (range of 4 to 22 min). Nine runners did
not sleep at all. Analysis of sleep data revealed that
rest as a function of time in the race t a (second
order) quadratic regression model (R
2
= 0.68,
P= 0.0003), with longer time in the race correlating
with longer sleep duration in the race (see Figure 1).
Clinical symptoms of sleep deprivation
Eight runners (47% of study participants) experi-
enced symptoms of sleep deprivation.
Four of these individuals reported visual halluci-
nations; three during the second night of the race,
and one more during the test after the race, the
following morning.
Five of these eight runners reported extreme slee-
piness, dened as difculty keeping their eyes open,
while they were running. One of these athletes
reported that he received aid from another runner
on the second night. Three runners experienced loss
of balance during the second night of the race, and
one runner had transient amnesia lasting approxi-
mately one hour (failure to record the previous sec-
tion of the race).
Cognitive performance
Results of the 10-min psychomotor vigilance testing
showed that the number of reaction time lapses
(Response time > 500 ms) was greater after the
race than before (mean ± deviation; 6.2 ± 5.3
[95% condence interval 3.58.9]) vs 1.9 ± 3
[0.33.5] (t=3.23; P= 0.005; d= 1.39). Mean
response time was longer after the race (359 ± 92 ms
[95% condence interval 311407]) than before
(289 ± 43 ms [264309]) (t=3.4; P< 0.001;
d= 1.68). Mean response time after the race was
86% of response time before.
The number of errors of commission (false starts
or response time < 100 ms) was greater after the race
(1.6 ± 0.4 [0.62.3]) than before (0.8 ± 0.2 [95%
CI: 0.31.1]) (t=2.07; P= 0.02; d= 0.9).
There was no correlation between cognitive
performance (with either commission or omission
mistakes on reaction time testing) and either amount
of rest obtained or time into the race.
Discussion
Participants in this extreme endurance event had
serious cognitive impairments attributable to com-
bined sleep deprivation and strenuous exercise.
Indeed, nearly half (47%) reported notable symp-
toms related to lack of sleep. Although one-third of
those enlisted in the study eventually dropped out of
the race, the study protocol was adhered to and
everyone who nished the race completed the pro-
tocol. However, we acknowledge that a lack of a
control group matching the sleep deprivation dura-
tions but doing no exercise is a limitation.
Nevertheless, this study conrmed reports of
severe sleep deprivation in runners attempting ultra-
marathons (Doppelmayr, Finkernagel, &
Doppelmayr, 2005; Millet et al., 2011; Saugy et al.,
2013). Recorded sleep times correlated strongly with
duration of the race; longer durations positively cor-
related with increasing amounts of sleep (R
2
= 0.68).
These results are in accordance with sleep patterns
in solo ocean racers (Hurdiel, McCauley, Van
Dongen, Pezé, & Theunynck, 2013), supporting
the suggestion that napping allows athletes to com-
plete strenuous endurance events. Although a lack of
formal evidence for a threshold, nearly all individuals
who took longer than 36 h to nish the race, slept.
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
140
20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55
Race Duration
(
H
)
Rest Duration (Min)
y = 0.19x2 – 11.8x + 178
R2 = 0.68 ; P<0.0001
Figure 1. Cumulative sleep duration in function of nal time in race (open circles). A second order polynomial equation explained 68% of
the data recorded (Black curve).
Sleep ultra endurance 3
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In addition, some participants reported severe
cognitive decits, implying that physical effort in
ultramarathons with altitude change has a marked
adverse impact on neurobehavioral function. These
impairments ranged from inability to stay awake
while running to visual hallucinations and corre-
spond with known consequences from sleep depriva-
tion (Van Dongen & Hursh, 2010; Jackson & Van
Dongen, 2011; Lim & Dinges, 2010). This study
showed that individual safety is compromised by
sleep loss. For instance, extreme somnolence leading
to involuntarily falling asleep or loss of balance (sub-
jective report), as occurred in this race, put affected
runners in danger.
Cognitive performance after the race was altered
by sleep deprivation with a mean relative response
time ratio of 0.86. Lamond and Dawson (1999)
showed that a similar ratio was comparable to an
important blood alcohol intoxication. The physical
demands of such a challenging race also contributed
to an increase in the number of false starts and lapses
in reaction time during the serial 10-min response
time tests. These cognitive effects are most likely
attributable to sleep deprivation (Basner & Dinges,
2011; Doran, Van Dongen, & Dinges, 2001).
Nevertheless, there was no correlation between the
amount of sleep obtained during the race and neu-
rocognitive performance at the end of the race.
Neither was there a correlation between race dura-
tion and neurocognitive performance after nishing.
Although total sleep deprivation can be tolerated
for up to three days, it leads to increasing errors of
omission (Lapses) that can be predicted mathemati-
cally (Hurdiel et al., 2013; McCauley et al., 2009).
But taking into account the duration of sleep restric-
tion, the number of lapses recorded after the race
was highly variable (from 1 to 18 errors) and was less
than anticipated (Belenky et al., 2003; Van Dongen,
Maislin, Mullington, & Dinges, 2003). There are
several possible reasons for this.
First, sleep-time measurements were determined
from actigraphs that were incapable of recording the
so-called microsleep that certain runners reported
having experienced, and this microsleep could partly
aid the maintenance of athletic performance
(Hurdiel et al., 2014). In addition, it is likely that
the runners deliberately chose to have several but not
recordable microsleeps while they were into the
course. Unfortunately, conrmation by polysomno-
graphy, the gold standard for recording sleep times,
is not feasible in extreme race conditions. Second,
responses to sleep deprivation are idiosyncratic (Van
Dongen, Baynard, Maislin, & Dinges, 2004). The
origin of this baseline difference is widely debated
(Goel, Basner, Rao, & Dinges, 2013), but it could
affect physiologic sleep requirement and thus cogni-
tive performance. Finally, we conducted cognitive
performance test as soon as possible after the nish
line. Temesi et al. (2013) reported that laboratory-
based high-intensity cycling counteracted effects of
sleep deprivation on cognitive performance because
of greater exercise-induced sympathetic nervous sys-
tem activation. We speculate that prolonged exercise
in our study had a similar effect in stimulating sym-
pathetic activity to improve reaction time testing.
Possible reasons for the widely varying responses to
sleep deprivation after long-term exercise are strong
individual components that affect performance in the
absence of sleep, though these factors have not been
identied.
Conclusion
The wide range of individual cognitive responses to
sleep deprivation (from 1 to 18 lapses) in extreme
physical conditions during this study suggest there
are personal factors that affect individual perfor-
mance in the absence of sleep, and these factors
will require further research. Finally, we propose
that ultramarathoners could actively manage their
sleep during a race with predened strategies that
take into account predicted race duration.
Acknowledgements
We thank the participants in this study. We also
thank their families, who could be with the runners
while we conducted testing at the nish. Finally, we
deeply thank Dr. Jean Pierre Herry of the École
Nationale de Ski et dAlpinisme for his contribution
and the entire UTMB® organisational team that
allowed us to conduct this study. The authors have
no conict of interest to declare.
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Sleep ultra endurance 5
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... A limited number of studies involving ultraendurance footraces have shown severe dysregulation of emotional states or the quality of sleep (Lahart et al., 2013) but also decreases in cognitive performance (Doppelmayr et al., 2005(Doppelmayr et al., , 2007Hurdiel et al., 2015Hurdiel et al., , 2018 as well as dizziness, confusion and visual hallucinations (Glace et al., 2002;Hurdiel et al., 2015). When the duration of the race increases (~300 hours), olfactory function-a -surrogate of overall cognitive function‖ (p. ...
... A limited number of studies involving ultraendurance footraces have shown severe dysregulation of emotional states or the quality of sleep (Lahart et al., 2013) but also decreases in cognitive performance (Doppelmayr et al., 2005(Doppelmayr et al., , 2007Hurdiel et al., 2015Hurdiel et al., , 2018 as well as dizziness, confusion and visual hallucinations (Glace et al., 2002;Hurdiel et al., 2015). When the duration of the race increases (~300 hours), olfactory function-a -surrogate of overall cognitive function‖ (p. ...
... Thus, we assume that the participants were in an intermediate state of consciousness between waking and sleeping, which is often associated with hypnagogic imagery (McKellar & Simpson, 1954). This modified brain state could be fertile ground for visual hallucinations that are reported in 25% to 30% of athletes during ultratrails running (Dahl, 2015;Hurdiel et al., 2015;Mojica, 2003). This assumption is further supported by our results from the source localization analysis. ...
Article
This study aimed to investigate the impact of an extreme mountain ultramarathon (MUM) on spontaneous electrical brain activity in a group of 16 finishers. By using 4-minute high-density electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings with eyes closed before and after a 330-km race (mean duration: 125±17 hours; sleep duration: 7.7±2.9 hours), spectral power, source localization and microstate analyses were conducted. After the race, power analyses revealed a centrally localized increase in power in the delta (0.5-3.5 Hz) and theta (4.0-7.5 Hz) frequency bands and a decrease in alpha (8.0-12.0 Hz) power at the parieto-occipital sites. Higher brain activation in the alpha frequency band was observed within the left posterior cingulate cortex, left angular gyrus and visual association areas. Microstate analyses indicated a significant decrease in map C predominance and an increase in the global field power (GFP) for map D at the end of the race. These changes in power patterns and microstate parameters contrast with previously reported findings following short bouts of endurance exercises. We discuss the potential factors that explain lower alpha activity within the parieto-occipital regions and microstate changes after MUMs. In conclusion, high-density EEG resting-state analyses can be recommended to investigate brain adaptations in extreme sporting activities.
... Cardiac function [11,21] Blood pressure [11,21] Ventricular volumes and function [22,[34][35][36][37] Heart rate and heart rate variability Sleep and sleep deprivation [38,39] Before race [39] Nap [38][39][40] Sleep structure before, during, and after [38] Hallucination [38,41] Vigilance Spatial cognition [20] Posture [20,42] Balance Shoes [43,44] Pathologies [43,45] Foot volume Running biomechanics [4,42,[46][47][48][49] Changes in kinetic parameters Myotendinous activity of the ankle joint [50][51][52][53] Stiffness and fatigue [54][55][56][57][58][59][60] Pro-and anti-inflammatory markers [61][62][63][64][65][66] Sepsis markers, metabolism markers, and renal function markers ...
... Cardiac function [11,21] Blood pressure [11,21] Ventricular volumes and function [22,[34][35][36][37] Heart rate and heart rate variability Sleep and sleep deprivation [38,39] Before race [39] Nap [38][39][40] Sleep structure before, during, and after [38] Hallucination [38,41] Vigilance Spatial cognition [20] Posture [20,42] Balance Shoes [43,44] Pathologies [43,45] Foot volume Running biomechanics [4,42,[46][47][48][49] Changes in kinetic parameters Myotendinous activity of the ankle joint [50][51][52][53] Stiffness and fatigue [54][55][56][57][58][59][60] Pro-and anti-inflammatory markers [61][62][63][64][65][66] Sepsis markers, metabolism markers, and renal function markers ...
... Cardiac function [11,21] Blood pressure [11,21] Ventricular volumes and function [22,[34][35][36][37] Heart rate and heart rate variability Sleep and sleep deprivation [38,39] Before race [39] Nap [38][39][40] Sleep structure before, during, and after [38] Hallucination [38,41] Vigilance Spatial cognition [20] Posture [20,42] Balance Shoes [43,44] Pathologies [43,45] Foot volume Running biomechanics [4,42,[46][47][48][49] Changes in kinetic parameters Myotendinous activity of the ankle joint [50][51][52][53] Stiffness and fatigue [54][55][56][57][58][59][60] Pro-and anti-inflammatory markers [61][62][63][64][65][66] Sepsis markers, metabolism markers, and renal function markers ...
Article
Background: The growing interest of the scientific community in trail running has highlighted the acute effects of practice at the time of these races on isolated aspects of physiological and structural systems; biological, physiological, cognitive, and muscular functions; and the psychological state of athletes. However, no integrative study has been conducted under these conditions with so many participants and monitoring of pre-, per-, and postrace variables for up to 10 days over a distance close to 100 miles. Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the kinetics of the performance parameters during a 156 km trail run and 6000 m of elevation gain in pre-, per-, and postrace conditions. The general hypothesis is based on significant alterations in the psychological, physiological, mechanical, biological, and cognitive parameters. Methods: The Trail Scientifique de Clécy took place on November 11, 2021. This prospective experimental study provides a comprehensive exploration of the constraints and adaptations of psychophysiological and sociological variables assessed in real race conditions during a trail running of 156 km on hilly ground and 6000 m of elevation gain (D+). The study protocol allowed for repeatability of study measurements under the same experimental conditions during the race, with the race being divided into 6 identical loops of 26 km and 1000 m D+. Measurements were conducted the day before and the morning of the race, at the end of each lap, after a pit stop, and up to 10 days after the race. A total of 55 participants were included, 43 (78%) men and 12 (22%) women, who were experienced in ultra-trail-running events and with no contraindications to the practice of this sport. Results: The launch of the study was authorized on October 26, 2021, under the trial number 21-0166 after a favorable opinion from the Comité de Protection des Personnes Ouest III (21.09.61/SIRIPH 2G 21.01586.000009). Of the 55 runners enrolled, 41 (75%) completed the race and 14 (25%) dropped out for various reasons, including gastric problems, hypothermia, fatigue, and musculoskeletal injuries. All the measurements for each team were completed in full. The race times (ie, excluding the measurements) ranged from 17.8206 hours for the first runner to 35.9225 hours for the last runner. The average time to complete all measurements for each lap was 64 (SD 3) minutes. Conclusions: The Trail Scientifique de Clécy, by its protocol, allowed for a multidisciplinary approach to the discipline. This approach will allow for the explanation of the studied parameters in relation to each other and observation of the systems of dependence and independence. The initial results are expected in June 2022. International registered report identifier (irrid): RR1-10.2196/38027.
... Limited research has been conducted in this field. However, Hurdiel et al. (2015) demonstrated a significant impairment in post-race cognitive function when compared to pre-race in ultra-marathon runners that occurred irrespective of race length. Ultra-marathons continue to attract experienced marathon runners of all ages seeking new experiences in testing their physical and mental capacity. ...
... Moreover, physical activity and/or exercise have been shown to be protective against cognitive decline in aging populations (Barnes et al., 2003). However, continued research has demonstrated the potential adverse effects of extreme exercise, such as the effect of ultra-endurance events on cardiovascular function (Burr et al., 2012;Bonsignore et al., 2017) and acute measures of cognition (Hurdiel et al., 2015). For example, there is evidence that participation in ultra-marathon events may lead to an acute and transient increase in resting evidence that participation in ultra-marathon events may lead to an acute and transient increase in resting arterial stiffness , impaired left ventricular systolic and diastolic function (Burr et al., 2012), a reduction in large artery compliance (Bonsignore et al., 2017), and increased reaction time with the greatest decrements occurring when performing the most complex cognitive task (Burrows et al., 2014). ...
... The main findings of this study were as follows: (1) cognitive performance was significantly diminished post-race, and (2) cardiovascular function displayed significant associations with indices of cognitive performance during both the pre-race and post-race period, with total systemic resistance and heart rate exhibiting the strongest relationships with measures of reaction time at baseline (i.e., simple reaction time, discrimination reaction time, and choice reaction time), and total systemic vascular resistance displaying the strongest association with cognitive performance (i.e., choice reaction time) during the post-race period. Our findings support and extend the work of Hurdiel et al. (2015) demonstrating significantly slower reaction times for simple reaction time, discrimination reaction time, and choice reaction time along with a significant reduction in memory test performance after an ultra-endurance event. ...
Article
Full-text available
Background Ultra-marathon running participation has become increasingly more popular in recent years; however, there is inconclusive evidence concerning the effects of participation on cognition and cardiovascular function. The purpose of this study was to examine alterations in cardiovascular function and cognitive performance and their association in ultra-marathon runners prior to and following an ultra-endurance event. Methods In total, 24 runners (19 males and 5 females) participated in an ultra-marathon race (FatDog120) held in British Columbia, Canada. Participants competed in varying races distances [48 km ( n = 2), 80 km ( n = 7), 113 km ( n = 3), and 193 km ( n = 12)]. Cognition was assessed prior to and upon race completion using simple reaction time, choice reaction time, discrimination reaction time, and recognition memory (% correct). Cardiovascular function was assessed prior to and upon race completion using radial applanation tonometry for diastolic pulse contour examination. Results Cognitive performance displayed significantly ( p < 0.001) slower reaction times post-race for simple (30.2%), discrimination (22.7%), and choice reaction time (30.5%), as well as a significant ( p < 0.05) reduction in memory test performance (−8.2%). A significant association between systemic vascular resistance and choice reaction time was observed post-race ( r = 0.41, p < 0.05). Significant changes in post-race cardiovascular function were observed in resting heart rate (31.5%), cardiac output (27.5%), mean arterial blood pressure (−5.6%), total systemic resistance (−17.6%), systolic blood pressure (−7.0%), pulse pressure (−11.2%), and rate pressure product (22.4%). There was evidence of enhanced cardiovascular function being associated with improved cognitive performance before and after the ultra-endurance event. Conclusion Ultra endurance running is associated with marked impairments in cognitive performance that are associated (at least in part) with changes in cardiovascular function in healthy adults.
... The physiological effects of running are well documented for distance below 42 km [7,12], but remain to be fully explored in MUM, due to the logistical issues involved in monitoring runners in remote ecological conditions. However, recent studies have significantly increased the knowledge about the impact of these ultra-endurance races on sleep deprivation [15,16,23], muscular and cardiorespiratory adaptations [24,29] and physiological/psychological recovery [20,21] in amateur and elite athletes. As recovery may be defined as an intraand inter-individual multilevel (e.g., psychological, physiological and social) process for the restoration of performance abilities [18], a few papers highlighted 5-14 days as being necessary for recovery after an ultra-marathon, depending on the biological and physiological considered markers. ...
... The current literature surrounding sleep parameters after long and strenuous exercise and its impact on sleep deprivation is scarce. Both acute and chronic sleep deprivation negatively impact on reaction time and vigilance [3,15]. During the UTMB ® also, Hurdiel et al. [15] showed that combined acute lack of sleep and strenuous exercise had marked adverse effects on cognitive performances ranging from mere lengthening of response time to serious symptoms, such as visual hallucinations independently of rest duration in race and time in race. ...
... Both acute and chronic sleep deprivation negatively impact on reaction time and vigilance [3,15]. During the UTMB ® also, Hurdiel et al. [15] showed that combined acute lack of sleep and strenuous exercise had marked adverse effects on cognitive performances ranging from mere lengthening of response time to serious symptoms, such as visual hallucinations independently of rest duration in race and time in race. The following nights will be important to recover of this sleep deprivation. ...
Article
Purpose The interaction between sleep and recovery is a fundamental issue for ultra-marathoners, especially after an ultra-trail, but literatures on this matter remains are scarce. The main objectives were (1) to describe sleep parameters during the nights following an ultra-endurance event in amateur trail runners, (2) to evaluate the recovery kinetics, and (3) to assess the relationship between sleep parameters and recovery. Methods Nineteen race finishers were tested daily, from 10 days before to 10 days after the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc® (UTMB®). Hooper Index (HI) was used to assess recovery and sleep parameters (total sleep time, TST and wake after sleep onset, WASO) were monitored using a wrist-worn actigraph. Results HI was higher than baseline until day 5 after the race (P < 0.05) and younger athletes had a lower HI than older ones during the recovery period (P < 0.001). TST was not modified by the race, but there was a WASO peak on the second night after. Positive correlations were found between WASO and muscle soreness (P < 0.001) and between TST and HI (P < 0.05). Conclusions In conclusion, participants needed 6 days for recovery after UTMB® and younger runners seemed to recover faster than older ones. Post-race sleep quantity did not increase, but the second night was more fragmented, most likely due to muscle soreness. Correlations between sleep and recovery parameters highlighted the key role of sleep for recovery.
... Cardiac function [11,21] Blood pressure [11,21] Ventricular volumes and function [22,[34][35][36][37] Heart rate and heart rate variability Sleep and sleep deprivation [38,39] Before race [39] Nap [38][39][40] Sleep structure before, during, and after [38] Hallucination [38,41] Vigilance Spatial cognition [20] Posture [20,42] Balance Shoes [43,44] Pathologies [43,45] Foot volume Running biomechanics [4,42,[46][47][48][49] Changes in kinetic parameters Myotendinous activity of the ankle joint [50][51][52][53] Stiffness and fatigue [54][55][56][57][58][59][60] Pro-and anti-inflammatory markers [61][62][63][64][65][66] Sepsis markers, metabolism markers, and renal function markers ...
... Cardiac function [11,21] Blood pressure [11,21] Ventricular volumes and function [22,[34][35][36][37] Heart rate and heart rate variability Sleep and sleep deprivation [38,39] Before race [39] Nap [38][39][40] Sleep structure before, during, and after [38] Hallucination [38,41] Vigilance Spatial cognition [20] Posture [20,42] Balance Shoes [43,44] Pathologies [43,45] Foot volume Running biomechanics [4,42,[46][47][48][49] Changes in kinetic parameters Myotendinous activity of the ankle joint [50][51][52][53] Stiffness and fatigue [54][55][56][57][58][59][60] Pro-and anti-inflammatory markers [61][62][63][64][65][66] Sepsis markers, metabolism markers, and renal function markers ...
... Cardiac function [11,21] Blood pressure [11,21] Ventricular volumes and function [22,[34][35][36][37] Heart rate and heart rate variability Sleep and sleep deprivation [38,39] Before race [39] Nap [38][39][40] Sleep structure before, during, and after [38] Hallucination [38,41] Vigilance Spatial cognition [20] Posture [20,42] Balance Shoes [43,44] Pathologies [43,45] Foot volume Running biomechanics [4,42,[46][47][48][49] Changes in kinetic parameters Myotendinous activity of the ankle joint [50][51][52][53] Stiffness and fatigue [54][55][56][57][58][59][60] Pro-and anti-inflammatory markers [61][62][63][64][65][66] Sepsis markers, metabolism markers, and renal function markers ...
Preprint
BACKGROUND The growing interest of the scientific community in trail-running has highlighted the acute effects of the practice at the time of these races on isolated aspects of physiological and structural systems, of functions (biological, physiological, cognitive, muscular) and of psychological state of the athletes. However, no integrative study to date has been carried out under these conditions with so many participants, variables monitored pre-, per- (6 standardised time measurements) and post-race (up to D+10), over a distance close to 100 miles. This integrative and systemic approach will allow a global understanding of the interactions between the determinants of trail-running performance. OBJECTIVE The aim of this work is to evaluate the kinetics of the performance parameters during a 156 km trail run and 6000 m D+ in pre, per and post race. The general hypothesis is based on significant alterations of the psychological, physiological, mechanical, biological and cognitive parameters. METHODS The Trail Scientifique de Clécy is a prospective experimental study providing a comprehensive exploration of constraints and adaptations of psycho-physiological and sociological variables assessed in real race conditions during a trail-running of 156km in hilly terrain (6000m of elevation gain (D+). The race being devided into 6 identical loops of 26km and 1000mD+, the study protocol allowed repeatability of study measurments in same experimental conditions during the race. Measurements were carried out the day before and the morning of the race, at the end of each lap (every 26 km) after a pit stop and up to 10 days after the race. 55 participants were included, 43 men and 12 women, experienced in ultra trail running events and with no contraindications to the practice of this sport. This experimental group took part in a 156 km / 6000mD+ race (between 20 and 46 hours of running) and measurements were carried out the day before and the morning of the race, at the end of each lap (every 26 km), and immediately and up to 10 days after the race. RESULTS The race took place on 11 November 2021, of the 55 runners entered, 41 finished the race and 14 dropped out for various reasons (gastric problems, hypothermia, fatigue, musculoskeletal injuries). All the measurements of each team were completed in full. The race times (ie. excluding measurements) ranged from 17:49:14 for the first runner to 35:55:21 for the last runner. The average time to complete all the measurements for each lap was 64 minutes, ± 3 minutes. The first results specific to each scientific task are expected in April 2022. CONCLUSIONS - CLINICALTRIAL The launch of the study was authorised on 26 October 2021 under the trial number 21-0166 after a favourable opinion from the Comité de Protection des Personnes Ouest III (21.09.61 / SIRIPH 2G 21.01586.000009).
... Ultra-marathon events may require long periods of sustained wakefulness, with few opportunities for sleep [2]. Sleep deprivation during an ultra-marathon has been linked to inhibited cognitive functioning and adverse neurobehavioural performance [4]. Sleep deprivation's adverse effects may impact a runner's ability to make sound tactical decisions during events [5]. ...
... There are limited data on the sleep of runners during ultra-marathon events [2,4,7,8]. Martin et al. [2] found that 95% of runners slept on at least one occasion during events Int. J. Environ. ...
... In contrast, few runners reported any sleep during events up to 36 h [2]. Hurdiel et al. [4] observed that over 50% of runners (N = 17) did not sleep during a 106-mile (170 km) event. Of those that slept, they averaged~9 min across 1-2 sleep episodes. ...
Article
Full-text available
The aim of this study was to examine the sleep–wake behaviour of 200-mile ultra-marathon runners before, during, and after a competition. A longitudinal, observational study was conducted to collect the sleep data of four (two females; mean age: 45.5 ± 3.1 years) runners competing in a 200-mile ultra-marathon (N = 4). Wrist-worn activity monitors, in conjunction with self-report sleep diaries, were used to measure sleep, beginning seven days prior to the race and concluding seven days following the race (2–19 June 2021). Descriptive analysis of runners’ subjective and objective sleep data was conducted. All runners completed the 200-mile event in an average of 82.5 ± 7.1 h. On average, runners obtained 4.7 ± 3.0 h of sleep from 4.8 ± 2.4 sleep episodes, averaging 59.9 ± 49.2 min of sleep per episode. Runners averaged 6.0 ± 1.3 h of sleep per night in the week before the competition and 6.3 ± 1.3 h per night in the week following the competition. Runners in the 200-mile (326 km) ultra-marathon drastically restricted their sleep. However, obtained sleep, the number of sleep episodes, and sleep episode length were greater than those previously reported with 100-mile (161 km) runners. In-race sleep data suggest an increased need for sleep as race duration increases. Interestingly, runners obtained less than the recommended ~8 h of sleep per night, in both pre-race and post-race phases of the competition.
... There are other potential measures that can be used to assess acute or chronic training effects. These include biomechanical (e.g., force-velocity profile, acceleration load) [77] or other more area-specific measures such as cognitive tests [78,79]. For instance, assessment of acute training effects has been examined using cognitive function tests, such as the Stroop and response time tests, in elite cyclists and ultramarathon runners [78,79]. ...
... These include biomechanical (e.g., force-velocity profile, acceleration load) [77] or other more area-specific measures such as cognitive tests [78,79]. For instance, assessment of acute training effects has been examined using cognitive function tests, such as the Stroop and response time tests, in elite cyclists and ultramarathon runners [78,79]. We have provided examples of measures that can be relatively easily implemented in practice (e.g., jump tests, CK, HRV). ...
Article
Full-text available
A conceptual framework has a central role in the scientific process. Its purpose is to synthesize evidence, assist in understanding phenomena, inform future research and act as a reference operational guide in practical settings. We propose an updated conceptual framework intended to facilitate the validation and interpretation of physical training measures. This revised conceptual framework was constructed through a process of qualitative analysis involving a synthesis of the literature, analysis and integration with existing frameworks (Banister and PerPot models). We identified, expanded, and integrated four constructs that are important in the conceptualization of the process and outcomes of physical training. These are: (1) formal introduction of a new measurable component ‘training effects’, a higher-order construct resulting from the combined effect of four possible responses (acute and chronic, positive and negative); (2) explanation, clarification and examples of training effect measures such as performance, physiological, subjective and other measures (cognitive, biomechanical, etc.); (3) integration of the sport performance outcome continuum (from performance improvements to overtraining); (4) extension and definition of the network of linkages (uni and bidirectional) between individual and contextual factors and other constructs. Additionally, we provided constitutive and operational definitions, and examples of theoretical and practical applications of the framework. These include validation and conceptualization of constructs (e.g., performance readiness), and understanding of higher-order constructs, such as training tolerance, when monitoring training to adapt it to individual responses and effects. This proposed conceptual framework provides an overarching model that may help understand and guide the development, validation, implementation and interpretation of measures used for athlete monitoring.
... Indeed, even if exercise is universally recognized for its health benefits, ultramarathons have effect on mood and cognitive functions (Doppelmayr, Finkernagel, & Doppelmayr, 2005;Graham et al., 2012;Hurdiel et al., 2015;Lucas, Anson, Palmer, Hellemans, & Cotter, 2009;Tharion, McMenemy, Terry, & Rauch, 1990;Tharion, Strowman, & Rauch, 1988;Wollseiffen et al., 2016). ...
... According to different authors and regarding the cognitive processes of ultra-marathon runners, many cognitive strategies are deployed during the race, such as visualization, the setting of concrete objectives, internal speech (explicit metacognitive control). The results concerning impaired neurocognitive functions (such as attention, working memory, speed of information processing, verbal fluency or executive functions) were heterogeneous (Hurdiel et al., 2015;Tonacci et al., 2017). Interestingly, the fastest runners in the race were better than the slowest runners in tests of prospective memory and inhibitory control (Cona et al., 2015). ...
Preprint
Full-text available
Numerous studies have attempted to study the psychology of ultra-marathon runners (distance greater than the 26.2 miles of the marathon), but the dimensions most exploited within these studies have never been studied systematically. Such dimensions can potentially be transferred to other medical disciplines, especially in clinical psychology, addictology and precision psychiatry. We conducted a network semantic analysis by natural language processing on an exhaustive literature on the ultra-marathon runner's psychology. Among the 95 articles extracted and analyzed, we identify eight main dimensions: (1) Dimensional personality profiles; (2) Prevalence of psychiatric or addictive disorders and categorical personality approaches; (3) Cognitive abilities; (4) Profile of resistance to pain; (5) Emotions and emotional intelligence; (6) Motivation to complete the ultra-marathon; (7) Relationship between psychological effects and physiological markers. The cognitive, emotional, sensory, personality and psychiatric profiles of ultra-marathon runners are particularly attractive for studying motivation, emotional engagement, cognitive control, and metacognition. Like many other medical disciplines such as endocrinology, cardiology or intensive care, we aim to show how these profiles can be useful in the context of mental health and how they can be exploited outside of sports psychology. More precisely, ultra-marathon runners need to have an optimal use of their mental skills to overcome physical, psychological, emotional and environmental obstacles and have clearly define relentless goals. These profiles could provide new perspectives in the search for biomarkers and prospective experimental models that can be translated to the field of clinical psychology, addictology and precision psychiatry.
... endurance athletes who may self-impose sleep restriction during short-term, multi-day events (40)(41)(42). ...
Article
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Background Physiological and psychological stress slow healing from experimental wounds by impairing immune function. Objective To determine whether supplemental protein and multi-nutrient supplementation improve wound healing markers following acute stress induced by acute sleep restriction. Methods In this single-blind, cross-over study of generally healthy young adults (18 males/2 females; 19.7±2.30 years [mean±SD]), experimental wounds were created by removing the top layer of forearm blisters induced via suction after 48-h of 72-h sleep restriction (2-h nightly sleep), a protocol previously shown to delay wound healing. Skin barrier restoration (measured by trans-epidermal water loss, TEWL) assessed wound healing up to 10 days post-blistering, and local immune responses were evaluated by serial measurement of cytokine concentrations in fluid collected at wound sites for 48-h post-blistering. Participants consumed controlled, isocaloric diets with either 0.900 g·kg−1·d−1 protein plus placebo (PLA) or 1.50 g·kg−1·d−1 protein plus multi-nutrient beverage (NUT; L-arginine: 20.0 g·d−1, L-glutamine: 30.0 g·d−1, omega-3 fatty acids: 1.00 g·d−1, zinc sulfate: 24.0 mg·d−1, cholecalciferol: 800 IU·d−1 and vitamin C: 400 mg·d−1) during sleep restriction and for 4 days afterwards. Results Skin barrier restoration (primary outcome) was shorter for NUT [(median, interquartile range) (3.98, 1.17 days)] compared to PLA (5.25, 1.05 days) (P = 0.001). Cytokines from wound fluid (secondary outcome) increased over time (main effect of time P≤0.001), except IL-13 (P = 0.07); however, no effects of treatment were observed. Conclusions Supplemental nutrition may promote wound healing following sleep restriction in healthy adults including military personnel, the latter of which also have a high incidence of wounds and infection. Clinical trials registration: clinicaltrials.gov #NCT03525184.
... 1 Physiological stress, severe sleep deprivation, and extreme exercise have been linked to emotional instability, hallucinations, and psychological issues. 15,16 Symptom severity and associated risk factors should therefore be a future research priority. Interestingly, a positive correlation between exertion and positive emotion has been previously reported in ocean rowers 6 and other endurance events, 2 conflicting with the frequency of mental health issues reported here. ...
Article
Introduction Ocean rowing is an extreme ultraendurance sport in which athletes push themselves to their mental and physical limits while rowing across an ocean. Limited academic attention has meant health issues facing this population are poorly understood. This report provides a descriptive analysis of the injuries and illnesses encountered by ocean rowers at sea and suggests potential preventative measures. Methods Retrospective self-reported data were collected from ocean rowers via an online 29-question survey, classified by medical system, and totaled to produce a report of the most frequently encountered symptoms. Results Seventy-one ocean rowers, accounting for 86 ocean rowing attempts, completed the survey. Dermatologic symptoms formed 52% (n=169) of all reported issues, followed by musculoskeletal injuries (14%; n=45), mental health symptoms (11%; n=36), gastrointestinal symptoms (5%; n=16), and neurologic symptoms (2%). Gluteal pressure sores were the most common dermatologic symptoms (24%; n=40), hallucinations the most common mental health symptoms (69%; n=25), hand and finger issues the most reported musculoskeletal problems (36%; n=16); vomiting (38%) and headaches (50%) were the most common gastrointestinal and neurologic issues, respectively. Seasickness was reported in 42% of expeditions (n=33). Conclusions This report presents the physiological, mental, and medical challenges facing ocean rowers. Dermatologic and musculoskeletal issues were most common and varied greatly in severity. Over 90% of reported infections occurred as a dermatologic complaint, demonstrating the importance of preventative measures such as hygiene and wound care. Continued work with a larger population is required to further understand the physiological stress and medical complaints associated with transoceanic rowing.
Article
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À l’occasion de deux courses à la voile en solitaire, nous avons mesuré le sommeil et les performances cognitives de 11 skippers de haut niveau et les avons comparés avec un modèle biomathématique de prédiction de performance.RésultatsLe sommeil a été restreint de 56 % et de 73 % selon la course, et a engendré des temps de réaction plus longs en fin de course. Le modèle mathématique a expliqué 67 % de la variance des données de performances.Conclusion Bien qu’ayant surestimé les altérations chez certains marins, le modèle utilisé offre de nouvelles perspectives dans la préparation des courses.
Article
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Multi‐day single‐handed sailing races put exceptional strain on sailors, requiring high cognitive functioning and 24 h per day readiness to perform. Fatigue from sleep loss, circadian misalignment, workload and other factors is of significant concern, jeopardizing competitiveness as well as safety. Almost no research has been devoted to this, in part because collecting data on sleep and performance in solo sailors during races at sea is challenging. The present study aimed to contribute valuable data on the issue by assessing sleep–wake patterns and functional impairments in a total of 16 sailors during a two‐leg transatlantic race. Each sailor recorded sleep periods and functional impairments during the two legs of the race. Self‐reported sleep duration per 24 h was 4.1 ± 0.4 h in the first (shorter) leg and 4.6 ± 0.4 h in the second (longer) leg. Sleep was polyphasic and varied in a normal circadian pattern – sleep propensity was highest (about 50%) in the middle of the night, with a smaller (nearly 15%) secondary peak in the middle of the afternoon. Significant functional impairments were reported throughout the race including technical errors, mood changes and hallucinations. These impairments are consistent with the typical effects of substantial sleep loss and are likely to reduce the safety margin. Single‐handed sailors could benefit from the development of innovative tools to help them to manage sleep and fatigue and thereby improve safety and effectiveness.
Article
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Multiday ultra-endurance races present athletes with a significant number of physiological and psychological challenges. We examined emotions, the perceived functionality (optimal-dysfunctional) of emotions, strategies to regulate emotions, sleep quality, and energy intakeexpenditure in a four-man team participating in the Race Across AMerica (RAAM); a 4856km continuous cycle race. Cyclists reported experiencing an optimal emotional state for less than 50% of total competition, with emotional states differing significantly between each cyclist over time. Coupled with this emotional disturbance, each cyclist experienced progressively worsening sleep deprivation and daily negative energy balances throughout the RAAM. Cyclists managed less than one hour of continuous sleep per sleep episode, high sleep latency and high percentage moving time. Of note, actual sleep and sleep efficiency were better maintained during longer rest periods, highlighting the importance of a race strategy that seeks to optimise the balance between average cycling velocity and sleep time. Our data suggests that future RAAM cyclists and crew should: 1) identify beliefs on the perceived functionality of emotions in relation to best (functional-optimal) and worst (dysfunctional) performance as the starting point to intervention work; 2) create a plan for support sufficient sleep and recovery; 3) create nutritional strategies that maintain energy intake and thus reduce energy deficits; and 4) prepare for the deleterious effects of sleep deprivation so that they are able to appropriately respond to unexpected stressors and foster functional working interpersonal relationships.
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