Acute changes in carbon dioxide levels alter the electroencephalogram without affecting cognitive function

Elisabeth Bloch-Salisbury, Robert Lansing, Steven A. Shea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Scopus citations

Abstract

The partial pressure of carbon dioxide in the arterial blood (PaCO2) is usually tightly regulated, yet it varies among healthy people at rest (range ~32-44 mmHg) as well as within an individual during many natural life situations. The present study examined whether modest changes in end-tidal PCO2 (PET(CO2); a noninvasive measure of PaCO2) affect electroencephalographic (EEG) activity, cognitive function, and vigilance. Nine adults were ventilated mechanically using a mouthpiece; respiratory rate and breath size were held constant while PET(CO2) was set to levels that produced minimal discomfort. Despite discrete changes in EEG, neither acute PET(CO2) increases (mean = 47 mmHg) nor decreases (mean = 30 mmHg) from resting levels (mean = 38 mmHg) affected performance on cognitive tasks, latency or amplitude of the N1, P2, or P3 event-related potential, or alertness. Modest changes in PET(CO2) may cause significant alterations in the EEG without disturbing cognitive function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)418-426
Number of pages9
JournalPsychophysiology
Volume37
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 29 2000

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Keywords

  • AAT
  • ERPs
  • Hypercapnia
  • Hypocapnia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Neurology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Biological Psychiatry

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