Dr. Neal Pollock of DAN Provides His Best Talk Yet on Managing Decompression Stress.

Just one of several very illustrative slides from Dr. Pollock's talk.

Dr. Neal Pollock of the Divers Alert Network has been delivering a talk this week that is a must-see for any diver and even more so for any instructor.

“Managing Decompression Stress: Beyond the Algorithms” is a new approach to understanding and making decisions around the risk of decompression sickness and how we all dive based on this new understanding.

Dr. Pollock had decided to look at the data and not guess about theory to focus our attention on what can be done practically to actually have a strategy for how much risk we choose to add or minimize from our diving based on our performance, rather than the more wishy-washy “well this may work” approach and “if this then perhaps that” approach that has been so common prior to now.

With newer data and a keen sense of the practical, Dr. Pollock provides four clear factors to concentrate on. Then, he expands on each area with study-based data and what that means for the factors within each of the four areas: Dive Profile, Exercise, Thermal Stress, and Predisposition. Of course, within each of these there are many aspects to consider, but this simplified and data-driven approach will allow for clear choices to be made that either increase risk or minimize your risk for an incident while diving.

For example, how warm or cold you are at the beginning of the dive and the end of the dive can have a profound impact on your risk with a difference of as much as 20 percent from one circumstance to another.

Dr. Pollock will be giving the talk one more time on Saturday at 2:00pm in room S230A.

By Grant Graves