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Inert gas narcosis in scuba diving, different gases different reactions.

A new interesting article has been published in Eur J Appl Physiol. 2018 Oct 22. doi: 10.1007/s00421-018-4020-y. [Epub ahead of print] and titled:

Inert gas narcosis in scuba diving, different gases different reactions.

Authors of this article are:

Rocco M, Pelaia P, Di Benedetto P, Conte G, Maggi L, Fiorelli S, Mercieri M, Balestra C, De Blasi RA; ROAD Project Investigators.

A summary of the article is shown below:

PURPOSE: Underwater divers face several potential neurological hazards when breathing compressed gas mixtures including nitrogen narcosis which can impact diver’s safety. Various human studies have clearly demonstrated brain impairment due to nitrogen narcosis in divers at 4 ATA using critical flicker fusion frequency (CFFF) as a cortical performance indicator. However, recently some authors have proposed a probable adaptive phenomenon during repetitive exposure to high nitrogen pressure in rats, where they found a reversal effect on dopamine release.METHODS: Sixty experienced divers breathing Air, Trimix or Heliox, were studied during an open water dive to a depth of 6 ATA with a square profile testing CFFF measurement before (T0), during the dive upon arriving at the bottom (6 ATA) (T1), 20 min of bottom time (T2), and at 5 m (1.5 ATA) (T3).RESULTS: CFFF results showed a slight increase in alertness and arousal during the deep dive regardless of the gas mixture breathed. The percent change in CFFF values at T1 and T2 differed among the three groups being lower in the air group than in the other groups. All CFFF values returned to basal values 5 min before the final ascent at 5 m (T3), but the Trimix measurements were still slightly better than those at T0.CONCLUSIONS: Our results highlight that nitrogen and oxygen alone and in combination can produce neuronal excitability or depression in a dose-related response.

Check out the article’s website on Pubmed for more information:



This article is a good source of information and a good way to become familiar with topics such as:

Critical flicker fusion frequency;Divers’ safety;GABA receptors;Nitrogen narcosis

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