David Blaine and Apnea

May 2, 2008

The David Blaine holding-his-breath stunt is pretty amazing, and rather scary. It looks like he pulled it off with rigorous training, and lots of medical supervision. Time has a good wrap up in How David Blaine Held His Breath:

With or without pure oxygen, holding your breath is a difficult and dangerous pasttime even for elite athletes. When not done carefully, it can lead to drowning, or to potential tissue damage in the heart, brains or lungs. Preliminary results from Potkin’s research into apnea’s long-term effects show some abnormal brain scans among young, extreme free divers. There’s still much to learn about the phenomenon; as a medical student, Potkin recalls, he was told that no one could hold his breath for more than five minutes without suffering brain damage. Now, he wants to see if the technique can be used for medical purposes — and he’s hoping Blaine’s latest stunt provides the impetus for a greater scientific understanding of how to hold one’s breath.

Dr. Potkin is on staff at the Beverly Hills Center for Hyperbaric Medicine.

Have any of the RTs out there worked with people doing this kind of training?

I’d imagine when this goes wrong, it goes really wrong.

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One response to “David Blaine and Apnea”

  1. J Hampsten says:

    You should get in touch with my brother Jeff
    Hampsten at Idaho Hyperbarics and Wound Treatment Center, in Pocatello, Idaho.
    He has 2 tanks , a 26 man and a 6 man.
    Best I know he pretty much introduced the mainstream of America to Hyperbarics. He
    is sold on the stuff for a multitude of problems and has stories up the wazoo from 15 years of struggle to get the industry going. He has Medicare sitting up and listening (and covering many of the treatments they used to call experimental or way back.. new age voodoo).
    I really was sure he’d go broke and end up in the cookoo hall of fame before the insurance industry would be forced to pay for hyperbarics,..unless of course you dove deep and came up too fast! I kid, they didn’t even used to cover that very often!
    It’s a new day!
    E-mail him at his website…
    He’s a very interesting guy! Knows the industry like nobody else!!!
    Note as a subject that you were referred by his “sis j” so he is sure to take note.. he gets A LOT of e’s.
    I can’t say we have much interest in the Blane fellow, but evrybody’s interested in something! If you ever want to really find out some breathtaking medical advancements in hyperbarics..he is your guy.

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