Behavioral temperature regulation in humans during mild narcosis induced by inhalation of 30 percent nitrous oxide.

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Behavioral temperature regulation in humans during mild narcosis induced by inhalation of 30 percent nitrous oxide.

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Title: Behavioral temperature regulation in humans during mild narcosis induced by inhalation of 30 percent nitrous oxide.
Author: Yogev, D; Mekjavi, IB
Abstract: In this study, we investigated the influence of mild narcosis on temperature perception, thermal comfort, and behavioral temperature regulation in humans. Twelve subjects (six males and six females) participated in two trials, during which they wore a water-perfused suit (WPS). The temperature of the WPS (TWPS) fluctuated sinusoidally from 27 degrees to 42 degrees C, at a heating and cooling rate of 1.2 degrees C x min(-1). In the first trial, the subjects had no control over TWPS: They determined their thermal comfort zone (TCZ) by providing a subjective response whenever they perceived the temperature changing from a comfortable to an uncomfortable level and vice versa; in addition, they provided subjective ratings of temperature perception and thermal comfort on a 7-point and 4-point scale, respectively, at each 3 degrees C change in TWPS. In the second trial, subjects could change the direction of TWPS whenever it became uncomfortable by depressing a button on a manual control. The protocols were conducted with subjects breathing either room air (AIR), or a normoxic breathing mixture containing 30 percent N2O. Subjects perceived increasing TWPS as equally warm and the decreasing TWPS as equally cold with AIR or N2O. However, equal changes in TWPS were perceived as significantly less discomforting (P less than 0.05) during N2O, and the magnitude of the TCZ significantly (P less than 0.01) increased. Thus, narcosis did not alter thermal sensation, but it significantly changed the perception of comfort. These changes were not reflected in the behavioral response. Subjects produced similar TWPS damped-oscillation patterns in the AIR and N2O trials. We conclude that the narcosis-induced alteration in the perception of thermal comfort does not change the preferred temperature, or the ability to behaviorally maintain thermal comfort.
Description: Undersea and Hyperbaric Medicine : Journal of the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society, Inc.
URI: http://archive.rubicon-foundation.org/9355
Date: 2009

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