When under anesthesia or in a coma, the brain goes through an unconscious state of mind. Have you ever thought about how the brain comes back to consciousness? Research shows that the brain turns on certain sections at a time rather than all at once. The brain begins by turning on the prefrontal cortex first, allowing the brain to participate in abstract problem-solving capabilities. The prefrontal cortex is also responsible for memory and motor control, along with problem-solving skills. Other parts of the brain begin to turn on such as reaction times and attention spans, slowly following the prefrontal cortex. Since these sections turn on slower, some people may experience confusion and lack of attention on one topic upon waking. Researchers were able to learn about how the brain turns on after the body is in an unconscious state, by utilizing electroencephalography (EEG) scans. They also performed cognitive tests on participants before and after they went under anesthesia for surgery. The tests focused on reaction speed and memory. After the brain was fully recovered, the participants were asked if their sleep was impacted, which concluded that it was not. Furthermore, the brain will take roughly three hours to fully recover after waking up from receiving anesthesia. Although scientists still do not fully understand how anesthesia works, they understand that without it, many major surgeries would not be possible. This is the only way to turn off consciousness in the brain, other than involuntarily slipping into a coma. The brain is a mysterious, intricate organ that slowly will turn back on after regaining consciousness.
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.
As children, our mother’s healing voice was always something that could calm us down and make us feel better. Even now as adults, many people will still give their Mom a call when faced with a stressful situation. Researchers have recognized this, and are hoping to determine if a mom’s voice helps reduce emergence delirium if children hear their mother’s healing voice in a recording after anesthesia. After a procedure, children recovering from anesthesia sometimes experience a behavioral disturbance known as “emergence delirium.” The condition may cause patients to become very confused or experience hallucinations, which can be stressful for the children as well as caregivers and parents. Aside from being extremely uncomfortable and frightening, emergence delirium can be dangerous. Children sometimes move violently, injuring themselves and opening incisions. Researchers in South Korea believe a mom’s voice helps reduce emergence delirium. Studies in the past have shown that a mother’s voice can activate certain areas in the brain, affect behavioral and neural responses, and involuntarily cause children to be more attentive. The study included 66 children between the ages of two and eight recovering from eye, ear, nose, or throat surgeries. Half of the children heard a recording of their mother’s voice asking them to wake up over noise-cancelling headphones, while the other half heard a stranger saying the same words. Researchers will examine the results, and determine whether or not the children who heard mom’s voice helps reduce emergence delirium than the children who heard the voice of a stranger. This study has just recently concluded, and researchers are still studying and analyzing the results. If they do find a link the mom’s voice helps reduce emergence delirium in children, it will be a great option for medical professionals to use to keep children safe and reduce the child’s stress and anxiety following anesthesia.
Any type of surgery is likely to cause anxiety and fear in patients of all ages. However, surgery can be a completely terrifying and stressful experience for children. This can pose a problem for medical professionals, especially when administering anesthesia to these young patients. Doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals have used different techniques over the years, hoping to calm patients down before procedures and treatments. While stickers and toys have been very helpful, medical professionals are now finding that new technologies are very effective. The latest finds that virtual reality calms young surgical patients more effectively than other methods. Thanks to a group of pediatric specialists at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, virtual reality calms young surgical patients. A technique that has been helpful for older children, is giving them a virtual tour of the hospital and operating room beforehand so they know exactly what to expect on the day of their surgery. Zack Dwyer, a 17 year old preparing for surgery to correct supraventricular tachycardia, strapped on virtual reality goggles on Tuesdays and Thursdays after school, taking a virtual trip through the hospital starting at the entrance and ending in the recovery room. He had an opportunity to see exactly what he was going to see on the day of his surgery, even what it would look like as he was lying in the operating room speaking to a surgeon. After undergoing his procedure, Dwyer said “It definitely would have been super overwhelming if I didn’t know that was coming”. While this technique works great for teenagers, younger children can be a bit more difficult. Administering anesthesia to frightened children can be a challenge as their fear leads them to squirm and pull off their anesthesia masks. For these kids, virtual reality video games are used to distract them and trick them into breathing the anesthetic. One game, Sevo the Dragon, takes breathing anesthetic through a mask and turns it into an enjoyable game. Children pick a dragon avatar and the type of food they want to “cook” using the dragons fiery breath. The patient continues to play the game until they fall asleep. While these techniques are still in their early stages, they are already seeing how virtual reality clms young surgical patients, reducing their fear and anxiety on the day of their surgery. This technology is primarily being used on children at the moment, but it may be a helpful distraction for older patients as well. A reduction of stress and anxiety in patients undergoing anesthesia is helpful to the person as well as the medical professionals assisting with the procedure.
When having a pre-surgical consultation with your doctor, they will determine whether or not you will have to go under anesthesia. Complications may occur if the patient is awake or aware of what is happening during the procedure. For those patients who are having surgery or receiving anesthesia for the first time, they may have some questions beforehand including what may happen after the procedure. Here are some anesthesia FAQS for general surgery and anesthesia, and the answers may vary depending on the type of surgery and your doctor’s preferences. What is the Health History of the Patient? The number one asked question for physicians is the health history of the patient. Past experiences for the patient may alter and change the procedure and anesthesia. Medications being taken or allergies suffered can also affect the process of anesthesia. What type of Anesthesia will I be Receiving? Another question typically asked is what are the different types of anesthesia you may be receiving? The most common ways to receive anesthesia are injected in the arm or inhaled through a mask. The patient may request a certain way to receive it depending on how they feel about it, but the doctor may feel more comfortable with one option insisting that it’s done that way over the other for medical reasons. Injection through IV usually has a shorter recovery time than through a mask which makes the patient more tired for a longer period of time. Depending on the patient and type of surgery, the doctor will determine which one is more suitable. How do I Prepare for Surgery? How to prepare for surgery is another area of interest for most patients. What needs to be done to prevent any complications for the doctor? Avoiding solid food for several hours before surgery, following all doctor’s instructions, and possibly stopping certain medications that may interfere with the anesthesia are all common recommendations leading up to a procedure. The doctor or medical assistant will go over all the pre-surgical procedures and recommendations with the patient to ensure a safe and controlled environment. What are the Common Side Effects of Anesthesia? Common side effects is another area of interest for most patients preparing for a procedure. Some side effects can occur, but are very minor consisting of nausea, dry mouth, tiredness, and a sore throat. These side effects may not occur at all or appear suddenly depending on the patient. Also, on occasion, there are more serious complications after surgery due to the anesthesia, but they are very rare. Most questions you have can be answered by the doctor or staff on hand. It is always beneficial to the patient and staff if the patient is well-prepared and knowledgeable of the proper directions for any operation. By doing this, the procedure runs more smoothly and allows the doctor and staff to complete the surgery as planned and allow for a quicker, more routine recovery for the patient.
New anesthesia and medical training techniques are regularly being created, however a recent study found that a familiar childrens toy can benefit doctors training: Legos. Anesthesiologists require high levels of accuracy, dexterity, and patience, and specific types of training help them practice these skills. Read more to learn how Lego building blocks help establish practice techniques for doctors in anesthesia. Researchers developed a task where people copied shapes using bricks that they could see in a two way mirror. This strange but useful tactic was used to train and help the doctors to maintain the patience and understanding of 2 and 3 dimensional objects. These objects were premade, giving the doctor a view of what the object had to look like. The doctor would then recreate the object to exactly match. Researchers asked the doctors to use Lego Duplo Building Bricks in a 2 way mirror recreating these objects until perfect. Making them train and recreate the objects gave them the practice needed to better their hand eye coordination and movement when going to inject the anesthesia. The Lego Bricks were a simple solution for training. They found this simple training improved student performance in an ultrasound-guided regional anesthesia task. “This research provides a simple and innovative solution to improving people’s spatial rotation and awareness. That is, to perform many modern medical technical skills a doctor has to understand how a two-dimensional image of an organ relates to the three-dimensional world inside the body.” Technology is rapidly changing for this anesthesia medical industry, allowing those to change and adapt to the new ways coming will bring costs down, innovation to grow and better research for future market growth. Within the simulations used for the research and practice, time was shaved off the doctors time making the process quicker and more efficient. This advancement and study shows the potential anesthesia has to grow and make better for hospitals, doctors, medical industry, and most importantly the safety of the patient. https://www.anesthesiologynews.com/Policy-and-Management/Article/09-20/Lego-Training-Helps-Improve-Regionalists-Spatial-Manipulation/59524 https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/07/200721114720.htm