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Teaching fluid shifts during orthostasis using a classic paper by Foux et al.

Hypovolemic and orthostatic challenge can be simulated in humans by the application of lower body negative pressure (LBNP), because this perturbation leads to peripheral blood pooling and, consequently, central hypovolemia. The classic paper by Foux and colleagues clearly shows the effects of orthostasis simulated by LBNP on fluid shifts and homeostatic mechanisms. The carefully carried out experiments reported in this paper show the interplay between different physiological control systems to ensure blood pressure regulation, failure of which could lead to critical decreases in cerebral blood flow and syncope. Here, a teaching seminar for graduate students is described that is designed in the context of this paper and aimed at allowing students to learn how Foux and colleagues have advanced this field by addressing important aspects of blood regulation. This seminar is also designed to put their research into perspective by including important components of LBNP testing and protocols developed in subsequent research in the field. Learning about comprehensive protocols and carefully controlled studies can reduce confounding variables and allow for an optimal analysis and elucidation of the physiological responses that are being investigated. Finally, in collaboration with researchers in mathematical modeling, in the future, we will incorporate the concepts of applicable mathematical models into our curriculum.

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