Medications

Why opting out of opioids can be dangerous in the operating room

Currently, patients in seven states can tell their physicians they don't want to be treated with opioids in any health care setting, even during surgery. While unnecessary opioid exposure is a big reason behind the opioid ...

Neuroscience

When unconscious, the brain is anything but 'silent'

The cerebral cortex is thought to be the seat of conscious processing in the brain. Rather than being inactivated, specific cells in the cortex show higher spontaneous activity during general anesthesia than when awake, and ...

Medications

Anesthetic drastically diverts the travel of brain waves

Imagine the conscious brain as a sea roiling with the collisions and dispersals of waves of different sizes and shapes, swirling around and flowing across in many different directions. Now imagine that an ocean liner lumbers ...

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Anesthesia

Anesthesia, or anaesthesia (see spelling differences; from Greek αν-, an-, "without"; and αἲσθησις, aisthēsis, "sensation"), has traditionally meant the condition of having sensation (including the feeling of pain) blocked or temporarily taken away. This allows patients to undergo surgery and other procedures without the distress and pain they would otherwise experience. The word was coined by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. in 1846. Another definition is a "reversible lack of awareness", whether this is a total lack of awareness (e.g. a general anaesthetic) or a lack of awareness of a part of the body such as a spinal anaesthetic or another nerve block would cause. Anesthesia is a pharmacologically induced reversible state of amnesia, analgesia, loss of consciousness, loss of skeletal muscle reflexes and decreased stress response.

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