SCIENCE IN THE NEWS DAILY
Clues to How Anesthesia Numbs the Brain
from Science News
Emery Brown knows how to take the sting out of surgery. As an anesthesiologist, he has steered hundreds of patients to pain-free oblivion, allowing doctors to go about their business resetting bones, repairing heart valves or removing tumors. During surgery he continually monitors his patients, keeping tabs on their heart rate, blood pressure and breathing. Recently, he has also been eyeing what happens in their brains.
Rather than going under the knife, some of the people in Brown's care are going into scanners to reveal how the brain responds when people are knocked out. These deep glimpses could answer vexing questions about how people enter the state of unconsciousness known as general anesthesia and what happens in the brain while they are there.
Although it is widely used and remarkably effective, anesthesia's neural mechanisms have long remained mostly mysterious. While every anesthetic drug has its own effect, scientists know little about how the various versions work on the brain to transport patients from normal waking awareness to dreamless nothingness.
Connect With Us:
PODCAST & VIDEO: 3D Printing Replacement Body Parts
Regenerative medicine, a fledgling field with the aim of regrowing parts from a person’s own cells, is being amplified with 3D-printing technology, which can now use organic materials to create scaffolds that cells need to grow into their final forms. Richard Wysk, a professor of industrial and systems engineering at North Carolina State University, discusses the latest successes with this research, and the timeline for creating more complicated structures.
To view all multimedia content, click "Latest Multimedia."
Receive notification when new content is posted from the entire website, or choose from the customized feeds available.