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Flying w/Neuro disorders

Eric Wassermann ewass at codon.nih.gov
Tue Jul 25 11:14:36 EST 1995

In article <1995Jul24.101614.1303 at gems.vcu.edu>, agnew at gems.vcu.edu
(Brainwave Surfer) wrote:

> In article <trudygDBzsFG.K8G at netcom.com>, trudyg at netcom.com (Trudy) writes:
> > Can cabin pressure or other issues from flying affect ones neurological 
> > status when already altered.  Specifically, generalized encephalopathy, 

> Trudy, 
> I have had training as a pilot only with Civil Air Patrol.  I can tell you
> that flight does drop the air pressure in the cabin, and therefore the
> oxygen concentration going to the brain.  I don't have details on how much
> the pressure drops, tho.  I'm very sure that they will provide a oxygen 
> mask for your daughter.  I doubt that the pressure itself will do it,
> and as always, check with your doctor about my suggestion.  I don't know if
> any drugs will have conflicts with oxygen useage.  also, i'd suggest not
> smoking next to your daughter if she does use the oxygen!!!!!  ;-)
> Jim

If this is not just a coincidence, the trigger is likely to be
hyperventilation associated with the drop in cabin pressure.  This results
in a reduction in blood pCO2, and a decrease in H+ which, in turn, causes
cerebral vasoconstriction.  That can activate epileptic foci.  I would
watch for and try to prevent hyperventilation, with oxygen if necessary.

Eric Wassermann

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