Carbon Monoxide Headquarters
Neuropsychology, Page 1



Carbon Monoxide Poisoning:


This and the following six pages highlight some of the functional changes in cognition, memory, emotions and personality, physical symptoms, and vision that commonly occur with CO poisoning.

Executive Function:

Definition: Neurocognitive operations that initiate and maintain purposeful, goal-directed behavior and enable adaptation to a range of environmental changes and demands as they unfold in time. It is primarily Frontal (brain) Lobe mediated.

Underlying Executive Function:

  • Generating solutions to problems

  • Planning organizing, sequencing

  • Inititation

  • Persistence / Follow through

  • Self-regulation / Maintenance of focus

  • Self-monitoring for errors

  • Mental flexibility

  • Termination

  • Working memory

  • Multi-tasking


    Note: - Determination of neuropsychological deficits has only been possible during the past several decades, since neuropsychology is a young science. Previously patients were examined only by physicians, such as neurologists, who had inadequate tools with which to discover and to quantify such deficits. A patient poisoned by CO might go through the remainder of his life in an impaired state, all the while being declared normal by examining physicians.

    Credit: - Thanks to Dennis Helffenstein, Ph.D. for development of this material.


    ...... last changed 07/30/01


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    Acute CO Exposure Studies

    Brain Regions Affected

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