JUL 25, 2018 8:27 AM PDT

Is Your Brain Completely Unconscious During Anesthesia?

For surgical procedures, anesthesia is a necessary part of patient care. Anesthesia is thought to render a patient unconscious, but according to new research at the University of Turku in Finland, there is some brain activity during light anesthesia. When patients are awake and hear sentences or words, there is an identifiable brain wave pattern that shows up on EEG readings. The researchers in Finland used healthy volunteers who were given measured doses of anesthesia to a point right before unresponsiveness. Patients were able to be roused with slight shaking or a loud voice. The researchers read sentences to the patients that ended with an incongruent word to the rest of the sentence. The EEG showed the brain activity that happens when awake, but under anesthesia, the brain could not determine the difference between a phrase that was coherent and one that ended with a surprise word. 

The study also looked at sound recognition, which was also different under the anesthesia. Primarily, the brain notices words and sounds that are different, but the patient is disconnected from reacting to the environment and cannot recall the events. The authors hope the study data can improve anesthesia practice and help doctors find just the right dose to work for the procedure but not so much that the patient is unsafe. 

About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
You May Also Like
OCT 22, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Why Do Galaxies Come in Different Shapes?
OCT 22, 2020
Why Do Galaxies Come in Different Shapes?
When looking it galaxies, it takes little to realize that they come in different shapes- whether they're swirling bl ...
NOV 04, 2020
Plants & Animals
Scientists Rediscover "Lost" Chameleon Species in Madagascar
NOV 04, 2020
Scientists Rediscover "Lost" Chameleon Species in Madagascar
Voeltzkow’s chameleon was recently rediscovered after disappearing for more than 100 years. According to an articl ...
NOV 12, 2020
Health & Medicine
Measles Cases and Deaths Surge Worldwide
NOV 12, 2020
Measles Cases and Deaths Surge Worldwide
Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a stat ...
FEB 19, 2021
Plants & Animals
What can Lemurs Teach us About Love?
FEB 19, 2021
What can Lemurs Teach us About Love?
Although not entirely accurate, romantic sentiments such as "you're my lobster" or "you're my pen ...
MAR 09, 2021
Plants & Animals
Study Highlights Importance of Chinook Salmon to Endangered Orcas
MAR 09, 2021
Study Highlights Importance of Chinook Salmon to Endangered Orcas
Many issues plague the iconic orcas of the Pacific Northwest United States, including declining salmon populations. ...
MAY 30, 2021
Space & Astronomy
New Discovery Casts Origin of Milky Way into Doubt
MAY 30, 2021
New Discovery Casts Origin of Milky Way into Doubt
A detailed cross-section of another galaxy, known as YGC 10738, has cast previous ideas of how the Milky Way was formed ...
Loading Comments...