The neuroendocrine effects of the TASER X26®: A brief report

D. Dawes, J. Ho, J. Miner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations

Abstract

Introduction: Law enforcement officers use conducted electrical weapons (CEW) such as the TASER X26® to control violently resistive subjects. There are no studies in the medical literature examining the effects of these weapons on the human stress response. This is the first study to compare the human stress response to conducted electrical weapons, oleoresin capsicum (O.C.), a cold-water tank immersion, and a defensive tactics drill. Methods: Subjects were randomized to one of the four interventions studied. Subjects received either a 5-s exposure from the TASER X26 CEW with the probes fired into the back from 7 ft, a 5-s spray of O.C., a skin and mucous membrane irritant, to the eyes, a 45-s exposure of the hand and forearm in a 0 °C cold water tank, or a 1-min defensive tactics drill. Results: Alpha-amylase had the greatest increase from baseline at 10-15 min with the defensive tactics drill. Cortisol had the greatest increase at 15-20 min with O.C. Cortisol remained most elevated at 40-60 min in the defensive tactics drill group. Conclusions: Our preliminary data suggests that physical exertion during custodial arrest may be most activating of the human stress response, particularly the sympathetic-adrenal-medulla axis. This may suggest that techniques to limit the duration of this exertion may be the safest means to apprehend subjects, particularly those at high-risk for in-custody death. Conducted electrical weapons were not more activating of the human stress response than other uses of force.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14-19
Number of pages6
JournalForensic Science International
Volume183
Issue number1-3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 10 2009

Keywords

  • Conducted electrical weapon
  • In-custody death
  • Stress response
  • TASER

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