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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Nitrogen narcosis and ethyl alcohol increase the gain of the vestibular ocular reflex.

The effects of air, helium-oxygen (6.4 ATA), and ethyl alcohol (40% by volume at a dose of 1.5 ml/kg body weight) were examined on the gain, number of beats, and phase lag of the vestibular ocular reflex (VOR) by means of electronystagmography (n = 7). It was found that hyperbaric air and alcohol, both alone and in combination, produced approximately the same increase in the velocity of the slow phase component of the nystagmus, thereby elevating the gain of the system to unity. Hyperbaric helium-oxygen did not influence the gain. These findings suggest that nitrogen nacrosis differentially impairs the system controlling the VOR. It is proposed that this impairment may help to explain the disorientation sometimes associated with nitrogen narcosis.[1]


  1. Nitrogen narcosis and ethyl alcohol increase the gain of the vestibular ocular reflex. Hamilton, K., Fowler, B., Landolt, J., Porlier, G. Undersea biomedical research. (1989) [Pubmed]
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