Carbon Monoxide Poisoning on Boat in Havre de Grace, Maryland

The Baltimore Sun reported that two people were taken to the hospital for carbon monoxide poisoning Sunday afternoon.

Two boaters called emergency personnel while they were boating in Havre de Grace, a city in Hartford County, MD.

A man and woman were transported to the shock trauma center at the hospital in two separate ambulances.

They suffered carbon monoxide poisoning that came from their boat’s exhaust.

In a twist of events, one of the ambulances caught fire while transporting one of the carbon monoxide victims.

No one was harmed, and the patient was taken to the hospital by the Baltimore County fire department.

One of two dogs was also treated. Animals and small children can be the first to experience the negative effects of carbon monoxide because they are smaller.

Because carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless, it is essential to install carbon monoxide detectors on all recreational boats. Symptoms include headaches, dizziness, nausea, and high levels can cause death within 30 minutes.

In one study of 69 carbon monoxide poisoning patients, subjects showed a decline on tests of verbal memory. The researchers found that carbon monoxide can cause brain damage and cognitive impairments without lesions and other neuroanatomic markers.

Another study found that there was atrophy (loss of surface area) on the corpus callosum. The results were generalized on the corpus callosum rather than subregion-specific areas. The corpus callosum is a bundle of neural fibers that connects the right and left hemispheres and facilitates communication between the two hemispheres.

The study also found that patients exhibited impaired memory, attention, and executive functioning on baseline testing. The patients had variable improvement in cognitive function at six months.

Quantitative MRI analysis allows for the detection of changes in the corpus callosum that may not otherwise be detected after carbon monoxide poisoning.

All in all, historically the long term effects of carbon monoxide poisoning on the brain have been underestimated, but these researchers found subtle but significant corpus callosum atrophy and cognitive impairments after carbon monoxide poisoning.

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