SCUBA PHYSIOLOGICAL is an e-book promoted as a review of some of the latest thoughts on scuba physics and physiology in a tone and form that makes it accessible for the general population of layman divers.
It’s based on a book called The Science of Diving – Things Your Instructor Never Told You, which was “written by scientists for scientists”.
Why is it packaged in the style of Simon Pridmore’s other popular books for divers? It was his idea to ask the original authors if they would let him edit the book into a layman’s version in digital form. They later approved what we now have here
as Scuba Physiological, a book based on scientific theory and claiming to contain no opinions, only information backed up by experiments.
The format is that of a series of independent essays written by different groups of authors, with a great many names mentioned. The mix of contributors ranges from scientists in many fields, doctors
of many different specialities, physiologists and just those in “the field” of diving.
The individual nature of the chapters, with their different contributors, does lead to some repetition, but this is more a positive than a negative, allowing some consolidation of the ideas.
Topics range from decompression theory and current treatment (and its limitations), an overview of why decompression illness (DCI) occurs and how it can be measured.
There are some interesting up-to-date thoughts on the origin, causes and consequences of DCI, including the limitations and problems of trying to prevent decompression problems, and finally how to treat DCI, including the controversial topic of in-water decompression.
The book then expands into commercial diving, technical diving and nitrogen narcosis, ending with some “Food for Thought” – short essays on various subjects.
So does the book achieve its aim of making complex subjects accessible to the layman? Well, partially.
As a doctor with a fair history and understanding of diving medicine and diving physiology I found the book interesting and thought-provoking.
Some of the latest theories and ideas were present and were certainly made easier to read, but I’m not sure to the level of the average “diver with knowledge on the subject”.
Some of the early chapters on decompression models and diving and the blood vessels got my brain working hard, yet others on commercial and recreational diving required no effort.