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Intoxicated Love at Altitude-2014 APS Video Contest

Alcohol, a known respiratory depressant, has been found to cause hypoventilation in acutely intoxicated subjects (Langhan, 2013). At high altitudes, the partial pressure of O2 is reduced and exposure to this can lead to low levels of oxygen in the blood, known as hypoxemia. Normally, the human body can adapt to the low oxygen content by breathing more. The sensory receptors in the body detect the low oxygen concentration in the blood and respond by increasing ventilatory response. However, the hypoventilation, which is caused by alcohol, reduces the body’s ability to adjust to the low oxygen environment, which could lead to a decreased amount of oxygen delivered to the brain. Hypoxemia combined with respiratory depression from alcohol consumption may lead to loss of consciousness. Many people like Lauren, a twenty-six year old alcoholic, are not aware of the adverse effects of alcohol at high altitudes. Jason, her boyfriend, is an active male in his twenties and is madly in love with Lauren. As Jason gets ready to propose to Lauren as they hike to the top of Mt. Hamilton, an elevation of 4,360 ft, Lauren loses consciousness because of the reduced oxygen levels to the brain caused by the combination of alcohol and low barometric pressures. This video will demonstrate the effects of alcohol as a respiratory depressant at high altitudes.The objective of this educational video is to educate the audience about how our body responds to high altitude or hypoxic environments.

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Resource Type: Video
Audience Level: High School lower division (Grades 9-10), High School upper division (Grades 11-12), Undergraduate lower division (Grades 13-14), Undergraduate upper division (Grades 15-16), General Public

Author and Copyright

Authors and Editors: Tim Nguyen of San Jose State University Dept. of Physiology, Bethel Mieso of San Jose State University Dept. of Physiology, Tranbao Lai-Nguyen of San Jose State University Dept. of Physiology, Jocelyn Fuentecilla of San Jose State Unversity Dept. of Physiology
Publisher: San Jose State University Dept. of Physiology
Format: text/html
Copyright and other restrictions: No
Cost: No


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