Early Transient Incapacitation: A Review with Consideration of Underlying Mechanisms
ARMED FORCES RADIOBIOLOGY RESEARCH INST BETHESDA MD
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Early transient incapacitation ETI, which is a decrement in the performance of a specified task resulting from the effects of supralethal ionizing radiation exposures, has been observed in a number of animal species. Since nuclear weapons result in radiation fields sufficient to cause ETI in personnel that may be exposed, an understanding of the mechanism of this phenomenon is essential for the development of a rational plan for preventing or reversing the effect. This report is a review of the behavioral experiments concerning ETI and presents a critical analysis of available experimental information as to the cause of the phenomenon. It appears that the primary cause of ETI in experimental animals is probably faintness resulting from a fall in cerebral blood flow due to the direct action of histamine on blood vessel smooth muscle cells.