Inert Gas Narcosis and Compressed Air Dysfunction.
GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIV WASHINGTON D C DEPT OF SCIENCE COMMUNICATION
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The psychophysiological changes in man due to breathing air under hyperbaric conditions are a syndrome of neurologic and physiologic dysfunctions manifested primarily as decreased cognitive and psychomotor ability and behavioral and neurological disturbances. The signs and symptoms have often been compared to those of alcohol intoxication, and their severity depends primarily on the pressure, or depth, at which the air is breathed. At moderate depths 100 to 200 fsw, a person breathing compressed air exhibits a delayed response to auditory and visual stimuli and concentration is difficult. Subjective effects seem to appear before objective changes in performance. Intoxication begins at approximately 100 fsw few divers can work very effectively beyond 200 fsw, and only very exceptional, or well adapted individuals can accomplish useful work at 300 fsw. At 400 fsw symptoms include euphoria, manic or depressive states, a sense of levitation, disorganization of the time sense, other psychosensory phenomena, and in some cases psychotic behavior.
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