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

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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.

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