3/5/2013 7:20:22 AM
Since the mid-1800s, doctors have used drugs to induce general anesthesia in patients undergoing surgery. Despite their widespread use, little is known about how these drugs create such a profound loss of consciousness. In a new study that tracked brain activity in human volunteers over a two-hour period as they lost and regained consciousness, researchers from MIT and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have identified distinctive brain patterns associated with different stages of general anesthesia. The findings shed light on how one commonly used anesthesia drug exerts its effects, and could help doctors better monitor patients during surgery and prevent rare cases of patients waking up during operations.
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