Q:

What happens when the brain is deprived of oxygen?

A:

Quick Answer

The New York University Langone Medical Center explains that brain cells begin to die after about four minutes without oxygen. Brain damage caused from a lack of oxygen is called anoxic damage, while hypoxia describes a low-oxygen condition. In other words, someone suffering from a lack of oxygen is said to be hypoxic, but any damage sustained is anoxic damage.

Know More
What happens when the brain is deprived of oxygen?
Credit: HENNING DALHOFF Science Photo Library Getty Images

Full Answer

Hypoxic conditions can be caused from a lack of blood flow to the brain, or when blood reaches the brain but does not carry enough oxygen, according to NYU Langone Medical Center. Shock, heart problems and strokes may prevent blood from reaching the brain, while lung disease, carbon monoxide poisoning and traumatic events, such as drowning, cause the blood to become oxygen-depleted, even though it can reach the brain.

While severe hypoxia often causes patients to fall into a coma or die, mild hypoxia can produce less serious symptoms. According to Heathline, temporary memory loss, difficulty moving the body and concentration problems may occur during mild hypoxia. Doctors usually diagnose brain hypoxia through a combination of a medical history and physical examination, however, tests may be used as well. For example, doctors who suspect hypoxia may also order blood work, magnetic resonance imaging or computerized tomography.


Is this answer helpful?

Similar Questions

  • Q:

    What is the function of the cerebral aqueduct?

    A:

    The cerebral aqueduct, or "aqueduct of Sylvius," connects the third and fourth ventricles providing a conduit for cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) to flow inside the brain. This aqueduct is located in the midbrain and forms part of the CSF ventricular system, prompting About.com to describe the structure as a canal between the ventricles.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How long does it take for a sound wave to get to the brain?

    A:

    The amount of time it takes for a sound wave to reach the brain is a changing value. The distance of the location from where the sound originates and the type of media the sound travels through are direct factors.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the purpose of the corpus callosum?

    A:

    The corpus callosum connects the two hemispheres of the brain, according to Healthline. It is a bundle of neural tissue with approximately more than 200 million axons. It facilitates communication between the right and left hemispheres of the brain.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How do spinal nerves differ from cranial nerves?

    A:

    Spinal and cranial nerves differ in their development, internal structure and the paths each take to the brain. Spinal nerves travel from their endings through bundles that run to the spinal cord and then into the brain. Cranial nerves emerge directly from the brain to innervate the head and neck.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore