The Dangers of Disney Answered
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.
I still haven't found out who's leading, though...