Animals at Very High Pressures of Helium and Neon

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Science  07 Jul 1967:
Vol. 157, Issue 3784, pp. 97-98
DOI: 10.1126/science.157.3784.97


At pressures up to 125 atmospheres, helium failed to anesthetize mice; at slightly higher pressures (135 to 145 atmospheres) it proved lethal. With Italian newts (Triturus italicus), whose sensitivity to anesthesia by nitrogen is similar to that of mice, responsiveness was lost at pressures between 165 and 245 atmospheres, whether the pressure was achieved with helium or neon, or hydrostatically. It was concluded that the anesthetic pressures of helium and neon, for mice and newts, are higher than the tolerable mechanical pressures.