Saturday, July 27, 2013

Neuropsychological Consequences of Acute Paraffin Solvent Exposure

Kimberly Hutchinson, Student, School of Psychology; Lawrence Dilks, Clinical Neuropsychologist, Counseling Services of SWLA; Thomas DuVall, Student, School of Psychology; Burton Ashworth, Student, School of Psychology; Lisa Hubbard, Student, School of Psychology; Jacqueline Bourassa, Student, McNeese State University

Paraffin Solvents are used to dissolve the paraffin molecules in crude oil, which would otherwise crystallize into solids and clog processing pipes and equipment. Caution must be used in its storage and use as its primary components include Benzene, Toluene and Xylene, each of which are toxic. TB was a production manager on an off shore production platform who was exposed to toxic vapors and liquid when a storage container ruptured. He attempted to clean the spill without the use of a protective mask. TB and another individual were exposed for 10-18 hours until relieved. The purpose of this presentation is to review his condition and test data for future reference.

TB is a 31-year-old male with a 12th grade education and 10 years of experience in offshore fluid production. His premorbid health and neuropsychological status was unremarkable. 26 Neuropsychological instruments with support equipment. The patient was evaluated in a professional assessment environment by a licensed neuropsychologist over a period of three days. Sessions were limited to reduce fatigue effects. The patient was debriefed and results were forwarded to his treating physician. The test results suggest a decrement in overall neuropsychological functioning. Losses appear in cognitive functions, executive ability, memory, language skill, and psychomotor speed.

The results are suggestive of diminished capacity with executive functions such as; judgment, insight, reasoning, attention, concentration and abstraction. Limitations were apparent in both auditory and visual immediate and recent memory but long term memory appeared unencumbered. Minor limitations were noted in language processing. Sensory skills appear well preserved. Given the time since exposure further progress appears improbable and the patient may be at maximum benefit. Future research should strive to delineate further details of executive limitations.

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