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Breathing Xenon

Breathing Xenon: Xenon is the heaviest non-radioactive noble gas (5x density of air) and is used for ion thrusters, general anesthetic, and various types of lighting sources. Xenon's anesthetic effect is 1.5 times more potent than N2O. Please do not breath Xenon without proper medical supervision and supplemental oxygen. "The anesthetic effect of inert gas xenon (Xe) was discovered more than 50 years ago. The main causes limiting its clinical application are high price, low availability (in nature the gas is present in scarce amounts), and absence of preclinical trials sufficient for norm-setting documents and further solutions allowing clinical trials of Xe." "These are the heaviest of the inert gases, and have some peculiarities. Xenon is, amazingly, an anaesthetic, in spite of the fact that it is inert. This is not completely explained, but is supposed to be associated with the strange behavior of xenon and water. 46 water molecules can hydrogen-bond themselves into a complex molecule with icosahedral symmetry that forms eight "cages" of the right size to accommodate xenon atoms, stabilized by dispersion forces between the xenon and the water. This 8Xe•46H2O is called a clathrate, from the Greek for a cage. Eight methane molecules can take the place of eight xenon atoms, to form an ice-like methane hydrate that can block pipe lines even at temperatures well above 0°C. Possibly the xenon encourages the formation of such clathrates in the brain, and the other smaller cages that are formed can clathrate ions important in brain function. For more information on gas hydrates, see Hydrates. "
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