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Human Performance Optimization

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Special Operations Command
Contract: H9240519C0016
Agency Tracking Number: S2-0459
Amount: $5,963,094.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: SOCOM17C-001
Solicitation Number: 17.C
Solicitation Year: 2017
Award Year: 2019
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2019-04-29
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2021-10-29
Small Business Information
38 Mason Street Floor 3
San Francisco, CA 94102
United States
DUNS: 079663453
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Brianna Stubbs
 (628) 224-4908
Business Contact
 Geoffrey Woo
Phone: (855) 486-6748
Research Institution
 Florida Institue of Human and Machine Cognition
 Dawn Kernagis Dawn Kernagis
40 S Alcaniz St
Pensacola, FL 32502
United States

 (850) 202-4434
 Nonprofit College or University

During altitude-induced hypoxia, operator cognitive and physical capacity degrades, compromising individual and team performance. Cognitive degradation is linked to falling brain energy levels, increased reliance on anaerobic energy production and lactate accumulation. Ketones are the evolutionary alternative substrate to glucose for brain metabolic requirements; previous studies demonstrated that ketosis maintains brain ATP levels and reduces cerebral anaerobic glycolysis during hypoxia. Similarly, physical degradation is linked to a shift towards glycolysis and away from fat oxidation. Ketones can also be oxidized by skeletal muscle, and exogenous ketone ester (KE) drinks enhance endurance performance in normoxia. Ketosis can be achieved when fasting or following a ketogenic diet; however, these approaches are impractical for military operators. KE consumption results in a rapid and profound ketosis without dietary changes; so may mitigate effects of hypoxia. HVMN and the IHMC, recently demonstrated that KE-induced ketosis mitigated the hypoxia-induced decline in cognitive performance in a code substitution task. The team proposes to further investigate the potential of ketosis to augment operator cognitive and physical performance. Furthermore, HVMN will undertake advanced formulation R&D to improve the palatability of the KE drink to accelerate integration into existing SOF & military best practices.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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