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Caffeine Gum Does Not Improve Marksmanship, Bound Duration, Susceptibility to Enemy Fire, or Cognitive Performance During Tactical Combat Movement Simulation

Fall 2021

Stein JA, Hepler TC, DeBlauw JA, Beattie CM, Beshirs CD, Holte KM, Kurtz BK, Heinrich KM. 21(3). 86 - 92. (Journal Article)


Background: Military personnel supplement caffeine as a countermeasure during unavoidable sustained wakefulness. However, its utility in combat-relevant tasks is unknown. This study examined the effects of caffeinated gum on performance in a tactical combat movement simulation. Materials and Methods: Healthy men (n = 30) and women (n = 9) (age = 25.3 ± 6.8 years; mass 75.1 ± 13.1 kg) completed a marksmanship with a cognitive workload (CWL) assessment and a fire-andmove simulation (16 6-m bounds) in experimental conditions (placebo versus caffeinated gum, 4mg/kg). Susceptibility to enemy fire was modeled on bound duration during the fireand- move simulation. Results: Across both conditions, bound duration and susceptibility to enemy fire increased by 9.3% and 7.8%, respectively (p = .001). Cognitive performance decreased after the fire-and-move simulation across both conditions (p < .05). However, bound duration, susceptibility to enemy fire, marksmanship, and cognitive performance did not differ between the caffeine and placebo conditions. Conclusion: These data do not support a benefit of using caffeinated gum to improve simulated tactical combat movements.

Keywords: caffeine gum; marksmanship; bound duration; enemy fire; cognitive performance; tactical combat movement simulation

PMID: 34529811

DOI: 10.55460/C9GO-XEUM

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