Oxygen Toxicity: Potential New Method of Prevention

July 21, 2015 3:41 pm / Category: Uncategorized

The possibility of developing oxygen toxicity remains a concern for us deco and Nitrox divers.
Although the exact mechanism is still under debate, the primary theory is that too much

 oxygen over too much time can induces seizures.


Research in neuroscience might provide us with new insights to reduce the risk of oxygen toxicity. It was found that a ketone-induced diet (such as an Atkins diet) helps patients who do not respond adequately to seizure medications. Whether this could be expanded to reduce oxygen seizure


s is currently being investigated.
A preliminary study with rats had promising results. It demonstrated that ketotic rats seize less quickly than non-ketotic rats. Another very small test study showed that divers were tolerating diving while being ketotic.  Dr. Harry Whelan from the Medical College of Wisconsin is currently conducting a human study investigating if humans on a ketogenic diet will have a decreased risk of seizing with high oxygen exposure.


The study just received approval for an extension. If you are interested in participating in the human ketone study, please contact:
Harry T. Whelan, M.D.
Undersea Medical Officer
Bleser Professor of Neurology
Director of Hyperbaric Medicine Medical College of Wisconsin
Email: hwhelan@mcw.edu
April Mays – Administrative Assistant III
Assistant to Harry Whelan, MD and Tarif Bakdash, MD, MHSC
Department of Pediatric Neurology
The Medical College of Wisconsin
            O: 414-266-7544|F: 414-337-7908| Email: amays@mcw.edu