The influence of an arduous military training program on immune function and upper respiratory tract infection incidence

M Whitham, S J Laing, M Dorrington, R Walters, S Dunklin, D Bland, J L J Bilzon, N P Walsh

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19 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The effects of the first 19 weeks of U.K. Parachute Regiment (PARA) training on upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) incidence and immune function (circulating leukocyte counts, lymphocyte subsets, lipopolysaccharide-stimulated neutrophil degranulation, and salivary immunoglobulin A concentrations) were investigated for 14 PARA recruits and 12 control subjects. No significant differences were reported between groups for the number or duration of URTIs, lymphocyte subsets, or salivary immunoglobulin A concentrations during training. URTI incidence was greater in the PARA group at weeks 2 and 3 (p < 0.05), coinciding with a decrease in circulating leukocyte and lymphocyte counts (p < 0.05). Neutrophil degranulation was similar in the PARA and control groups at weeks 0 and 19. Decreases in saliva flow rate occurred in the PARA group at week 15 and weeks 18 to 20 (p < 0.05). These results show a limited effect of PARA training on URTI incidence and immune function. The progressive decrease in saliva flow rate during PARA training may indicate an ensuing state of hypohydration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)703-709
Number of pages7
JournalMilitary Medicine
Volume171
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2006

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    Whitham, M., Laing, S. J., Dorrington, M., Walters, R., Dunklin, S., Bland, D., Bilzon, J. L. J., & Walsh, N. P. (2006). The influence of an arduous military training program on immune function and upper respiratory tract infection incidence. Military Medicine, 171(8), 703-709.