The Dangers of Disney

I was trying to find out who was currently leading the US presidential polls, when I got distracted by an item on Freedom of Information. That led me to this article. Isn't the internet wonderful?

Inhaling helium to produce an amusing squeaky voice (a favourite game for children in the United States and Europe) may not be the innocuous party trick it seems, according to emergency medicine physicians at the Wesley Center for Hyperbaric Medicine in Brisbane, Australia (Annals of Emergency Medicine 2000;35:300-3).

Simon Mitchell and colleagues report the case of a previously healthy 27 year old man who inhaled helium and subsequently developed a stroke with transient blindness and radio-graphic evidence of cortical infarction. However, the man had inhaled the gas direct from a pressurised canister, whereas most children who perform the trick - to imitate the voice of Mickey Mouse - inhale the gas from helium filled balloons.

The patient developed rigidity and lost consciousness within moments of inhaling the helium. On arrival at the emergency room 15 minutes later, he regained consciousness but was found to have complete visual loss and evidence of cortical infarction.

PubMed Article

I still haven't found out who's leading, though...

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i belive adam savage might have some problems...........
KentsOkay9 years ago
Y'know, that's the one thing I haven't tried...
Kiteman (author)  KentsOkay9 years ago
Just do it from a balloon, and remember to breath proper air as well.
I found it.....

Breathing in pure helium can be risky because it displaces necessary oxygen (as breathing in any gas besides or not mixed with oxygen would do). In other words, since bodies need oxygen, but are getting pure helium instead, the result is suffocation. One breath of pure helium can cause hypoxia (a deficiency of oxygen reaching the body's tissues) and result in dizziness. The next real breath of (oxygenated) air will allow everything to return to normal. That breath will happen automatically once the air from speaking (in a cartoon duck's voice) is expended. If anyone is going to inhale helium this way, it might be wiser to do so while sitting down; that way, if the person becomes dizzy, s/he won't fall and possibly get hurt.

Inhaling continuous breaths of helium one after another starves the body of oxygen. A person will eventually pass out, and perhaps even worse. At most, inhaling once or twice from a helium balloon, separated by deep inhalations of air, will be a way to prevent the harm.

Helium inhalation: the good the bad and the ugly....
Derin Goodhart9 years ago
I think SCUBA tanks are filled with a oxygen and helium mix...
Goodhart Derin9 years ago
I hadn't hear that, still pure helium displaces O2 and so they say it isn't a good thing to do often ;-)
Kiteman (author)  Goodhart9 years ago
The oxygen/helium mix is used for deep dives, where the pressure renders nitrogen narcotic.
Thank you.
Hmm, it does "replace" O2 and I thought I read of some other side effects that made this a not recommended thing to do......a googling we will go, a googling we will go....
I meant displace, not so much REplace.
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