Breath-holding cools the human brain
Jan Weis 1 , Sebastien Murat 2 , Francisco Ortiz-Nieto 1 , and Hkan Ahlstrm 1
Department of Radiology, Uppsala University
Hospital, Uppsala, Sweden,
Dive Lab, Sydney, Australia
Temperature of the human brain is subject of change as a
consequence of environmental conditions, pathological
circumstances, drugs, etc. This study sought to
demonstrate that human brain temperature can be
down-regulated by breath-holding (apnea), which is a
crucial component of neuroprotective reflexes known as
the dive response. Brain temperatures of five volunteers
were monitored by a phase-difference method. Apnea
decreased brain temperature ca 1 C in ca 70-80 seconds.
The outcome of this study opens the possibility of
devising new therapies that offer more effective
neuroprotection in critically-ill patients (e.g.,
stroke, cardiac arrest, brain injury).
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