How xenon and oxygen sensors may work together in treating head injuries
Oxygen sensors have an important role to play in treating head injuries, as leaving the brain starved of oxygen for any length of time can have catastrophic consequences.
But alongside oxygen sensors, xenon detectors could also become an important component in assessing indoor air quality in facilities where people who have suffered head injuries are being treated.
That is because of the beneficial properties of xenon for improving the general wellbeing of patients with head injuries.
Since the 1950s, scientists have known that xenon, although it is chemically inert, is also biologically active, with anaesthetic properties.
Now a team at Imperial College London have shown that treatment using xenon gas can actually reduce the extent of brain damage following a head injury – although so far, their studies have been limited to mice.
Dr Robert Dickinson, of ICL’s department of surgery and cancer, said: “Most of the damage to the brain doesn’t occur immediately, but in the hours and days afterwards.
“At present we have no specific drugs to limit the spread of the secondary injury, but we think that is the key to successful treatment.”
That is where xenon could help, alongside an appropriate supply of oxygen to help the uninjured brain tissue to continue to function properly during recovery.