JUL 25, 2018 08:27 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
SEP 10, 2018
Videos
SEP 10, 2018
The Difference Between Marijuana and Hemp
What's the difference between Marijuana and Hemp? Watch the video below to find out exactly how they differ. Both hemp and marijuana belong to the same...
SEP 26, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
SEP 26, 2018
Musical Instrument-inspired Chemical Sensor
The connections between art and science are everywhere. To find them one needs a pair of curiosity-driven eyes, or ears. According to a recent article in t...
OCT 08, 2018
Technology
OCT 08, 2018
The SolarFlower is a Promising New Take on Solar Energy
Solar energy is a clean and renewable energy source with promising applications in the near future as solar panel technology matures. SmartFlower is an int...
OCT 10, 2018
Videos
OCT 10, 2018
It Matters How Young You Start Using Cannabis
If the brain's endocannabinoid system is constantly disrupted with cannabis while developing it can affect mood, motivation, learning and how memo...
OCT 13, 2018
Videos
OCT 13, 2018
Why you shouldn't give a baby water
Did you know that babies shouldn't drink water before they are at least six months old? That's because, while human adults are composed of 55-60% w...
OCT 14, 2018
Videos
OCT 14, 2018
Counteracting Plastic Straws by Using Plant Fibers
According to the United Nations, ocean plastics kill an estimated 100,000 marine mammals annually—and straws are much to blame. Already, the state of...
Loading Comments...