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Scientific articles about breath-hold diving

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Well-Known Member
Sep 23, 2003
I'm doing a presentation for my studies (biology), which has to be based on published scientific articles. I know some of you have been reading that kind of stuff, so I thought you might have some tips for me.

I would like to do the presentation about the physiology and adaptations for breath-hold diving, preferably comparing these in humans and diving animals, but any other suggestions concerning the subject are of course welcome!

Perhaps this thread can also serve as a database for other interested freedivers. Here is a list of the articles that I have found so far:

The diving physiology of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus)
by Terrie M. Williams, J.E. Haun and W.A. Friedl
published in The Journal of Experimental Biology 202, 2739-2748 (1999)

Diversity in and adaptation to breath-hold diving in humans
Guido Ferretti, Mario Costa
Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A 136 (2003) 205-213

The physiological basis of diving to depth: Birds and mammals
G.L. Kooyman, P.J. Ponganis
Annu. Rev. Physiol. 1998. 60:19-32

Sink or swim: Strategies for cost-efficient diving by marine mammals
Terrie M. Williams et al.
Science vol 288, No. 5463, 133-136 (2000)

Spleen volume and blod flow response to repeated breath-hold apneas
Darija Bakovic et al.
J Appl Physiol 95: 1460-1466, 2003

Aerobic dive limit: how often does it occur in nature?
Daniel P. Costa et al.
Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A 129 (2001) 771-783

The behavioural and physiological ecology of diving
I.L. Boyd
TREE vol. 12, no. 6, 1997, 213-217
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I have some references in a database.
EndNote Database, if you want I can send you the whole database
Also try "The Journal of Applied Physiology" it has good stuff on splenic response and other issues.
I ordered "The physiology of breath-hold diving" edited by Lundgren (M.D, PhD) and Ferrigno (M.D).

There I found different studies and also an interview with the legend Enzo Majorca.

You can find it at www.uhms.org. (Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society)
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Thanks a lot for your help guys!

Frank: Thanks for your offer, I will PM you my e-mail address.

Shadow: I already have one article from The Journal of Applied Physiology, Spleen volume and blood flow response to repeated breath-hold apneas by Darija Bakovic et al. Haven't had time to read that one yet, though. But I'll take a look to see if I can find more anyway.

Peter: You're talking about a book, right? If I remember correctly that one is pretty old. It would be a very interesting read anyway, not least for the interview.
You might be interested in this link: Bibliography: Breath-Hold diving

You probably need access to a university library to find these articles in magazines. If you do and find some of them in PDF format, could you please share them?
Some of the titles look very promising......
Yes Jussi!

It's like a book with a lots of different scientific studies made by some different researchers.

The studies are not new but there are some interesting reading!
Thanks for the link, jvoets!
I do have acces to our university library, so when I have time I'll look into it. Won't happen before next week at least, but I'll let you know what I find :)
I will also add some more references to the list later on.
For those who know french:

I can really recommend:

La plongéé en apnée
Physiologie et médecine

3e édition

from Jacques Henri Corriol
Thanks Tyler Z and Jussi.

In-depth :head info hard to come by in land-locked place where I live.

Tyler, did you get your 6 hours??? OK. Being silly here. :t
At least ask Eric Fatah if he got his 30 minutes? I really believe it's possible--under the right circumstances. A Hatha Yogi did a 22. If this is considered a dangerous thought--forget it.
Why this stuff fascinates me so since I was a kid, I can't say--EXCEPT: Breath-hold divers are born, not made.
There are plenty of freediving books in several languages listed in the Freediving Media Base. You can purchase most of them even in a land-locked place. On the pop-up info card (shown after clicking a line in the media listing), there is mostly a BUY button at the bottom left (when vendor known) that redirects you to Amazon or another online merchant, where you can order the books:
General freediving books: http://apnea.cz/books
Scientific books: http://apnea.cz/medical+books

And there are even more scientific online documents (I mean other than paper books) listed in the database - some of the links show only abstracts, and you need to pay a small fee for the entire document, but a big number of the documents are available in full text online for free. There is enough reading for many months:

I am permanently adding new interesting documents to the database, so you can check it often. You are also welcome to add books, documents, or other media not yet listed on apnea.cz
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if you have access to a scientific library, you may go to PubMed Home and enter keywords: apnea diving or breath-hold diving , that gives most of the recent references, online is the abstracts free to read.

I would like to recommend the workshop proceedings from last year that I organized with main sponsoring from UHMS and DAN, it is supposed to be written in a format that non-doctors should understand. It cost about 20 US and can be ordered online from DAN Divers Alert Network - Scuba Diving and Dive Safety Association (I dont get any money for this :), it was a scientific workshop but DAN offered to sponor it and take care of the distribution of the book, its about 150 pages with articles and lots of discussions among the scientists, doctors and divers there.

We also had divers like Tanya and Martin and Kirk presenting material, plus lots of intereting talks from scientists.

It can be found in the online shop as Breath-Hold Diving 2006 Workshop Proceedings

Dr Peter Lindholm
Hi Dr Lindholm,

Great to see you back on the forums. I purchased the DAN worlshop proceedings a couple of weeks ago and am half way through reading it. It's very interesting so far. One thing I have noted so far is that some of the testing (across all studies, not yours in particular) have small sample sizes (with relation to testing freedivers). Do you have any plans to do further research in the future with larger sample sizes? The World Championships each year have been attracting well in excess of 100 divers at each event, the WC in Slovenia in July will have 130 participants I believe.

Yes unfortunately many studies during the last decades on breath-hold diving has been done on a few subjects, probably due to money issues, breath-hold diving is no major health problem that it greatly funded for research and there are usually only a few elite diver in each country, at least it has been that for a while. This "new" interest in science of breath-hold diving follow the development of the sport, since most of the breath-hold studies in the 1950-1960s were done on ama divers and freedivers without todays competitive selection and training techniques. The situation is getting better and more and more studies are done on larger samples, I usually try to have at least 10 subjects in my studies but when we did some of the studies on the glossopharyngeal insufflation (lungpacking) there were not so many divers around that could do the technique. One should remember that most studies you see published are done a few years ago, it takes a long time to analyse data, write and get the study printed. In the workshop book there is also a "historical" presentation by Dr Lundgren when he reports the studies on the maiorcas (3 subjects), those tests where done almost 20 years ago.