The Comparative Effects of Hypoxic and Carbon Monoxide Hypoxia on Behavior

  • Zoltan Annau
Part of the Environmental Science Research book series (ESRH, volume 5)


Our recent concern with the quality of our environment has led to renewed interest in the behavioral effects of toxic substances. Thus, although research on the effects of carbon monoxide dates back to the early studies of Haldane (1895) and, more recently, McFarland (1946), very little progress has been made in quantifying the relationships between carbon monoxide exposures and behavioral effects. The recent reviews of the literature (Coburn, 1970; U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, 1970) are more noted for the contradictory behavioral evidence than for a clear comprehension of the effects of either short-term or long-term exposures on human and animal subjects. A review of the behavioral literature dealing with the effects of exposure to low inspired oxygen concentrations (hypoxic hypoxia) reveals very similar results. The reviews of Van Liere and Stickney (1963), Tune (1964), and, more recently, Meier (1971) show a diversity of experimental techniques, species, and exposures, with very little comparability in results, and only a few broad generalizations possible. The lack of systematic investigations of the effects of these two environmental conditions on behavior made it desirable to develop behavioral techniques that were both simple and reproducible and at the same time sensitive to changes in the gaseous environment. Since the major effect of carbon monoxide inhalation may be to produce tissue hypoxia, we initiated our experimental program by setting up a behavioral model that we hoped would be sensitive to the effects of hypoxia; only after we had obtained satisfactory results did we plan to proceed to the study of the effects of carbon monoxide. The first part of this report therefore will deal with our attempts to quantify the behavioral effects of hypoxia.


Carbon Monoxide Conditioned Stimulus Unconditioned Stimulus Conditioned Suppression Respiratory Alkalosis 
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Copyright information

© University of Rochester 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zoltan Annau
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental Medicine, School of Hygiene and Public HealthThe Johns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA

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