Understanding What Happens to the Brain Under Anesthesia

When we go under anesthesia we obviously don’t know what is happening to our brain. It simply shuts off and we wake up a few hours later, possibly feeling a little dazed. So are you actually asleep? Are you in a coma? All of these questions are being worked on being answered and we are getting closer and closer to finding out the truth. 

In a state of consciousness, thoughts are quite literally running across your mind. Neurons are continually being fired to make sense of everything around you forming your perception of consciousness and what is what. 

When all of these neurons are firing and constantly communicating with each other, your brain becomes a highway of vehicles always in motion. When anesthesia is introduced, there is a clear signal to every vehicle on your highway of thoughts to stop. A way that neuro scientists measure the activity of your neurons is an electroencephalogram, or EEG. When measuring this in a person that is awake, neurons are constantly moving and communicating with each other. When they read the EEG when anesthesia is introduced, all of the neurons shut down, almost immediately. 

At this point, the question being asked is: What does this mean? If we are able to further our understanding of how quickly all of the neurons in our brain are told to stop and how fast we lose consciousness, anesthesia can become even more safe to use. Optimizing the doses given to each individual based on an EEG reading might be able to achieve safety and security within the field. Small improvements can be made as well, such as limiting the time a person is unconscious after a surgery or how dazed they are when they first become conscious again. 

All of these improvements are being made faster in a world where information is in an abundance. There can be major leaps in the medical field, including anesthesia. Stay here for more about how anesthesia works and new developments in technology and information.