Neuropsychological deficits of a U.S. Army pilot following an anoxic event as a function of cardiac arrest.

Contributing USMA Research Unit(s)

Behavioral Sciences and Leadership

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Military medicine

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Anoxic encephalopathy occurs as a result of cardiac arrest, respiratory distress, or carbon monoxide poisoning. This is a case report on the neuropsychological deficits of anoxia in an otherwise previously healthy 36-year-old male pilot. The patient was taking an over-the-counter supplement that included an herb called Ma Huang on the day of his cardiac arrest. Ma Huang is reported to potentially present an increased risk of cardiac infarctions and central nervous system dysfunctions. Several instances of death have been linked to Ma Huang. The patient produced a neuropsychological profile that evidenced impairments in executive functioning, memory, language, attention, intellectual and academic functioning, as well as motor speed and coordination, all of which are consistent with diffuse brain damage. This case adds to the body of literature documenting the physical and neuropsychological effects of anoxia, as well as the effects of ephedrine-based supplements, such as Ma Huang.

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