NASA Study Examines Brain Activity of Pilots Under Stress

Using a full-motion simulator and the latest in brain-wave imaging technology, a NASA biomedical engineer is studying the effects of stress and overload on pilots. Fifteen volunteer airline pilots are participating in the study, which is conducted at NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. It is designed to measure the pilots' blood-oxygen concentration and its flow to the brain's cortex. The study's results are expected to establish a noninvasive and practical method of measuring neural activity. Once the measuring parameters can be set, the testing methods can be used to establish stress levels associated with excessive workload in the cockpit and the effects of stress, fatigue and distraction on a pilot's ability to handle multitasking.