Study: Brain Resists Emergence From Anesthesia

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A recent study published in PLoS ONE suggests that the brain may resist emerging from anesthesia, requiring more anesthetic for emergence from anesthesia than for submergence.

According to the study, headed by Max Kelz, MD, at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, less anesthetic is required to keep the brain anesthetized than to induce unconsciousness. The researchers have suggested a theory called "neural inertia," which refers to the brain's resistance to transitions between consciousness and unconsciousness.

Researchers performed a simple experiment in mice and fruit flies to test the assumption that anesthesia works the same way when a patient is going under and coming out of anesthesia. They measured the concentration of anesthetic in the brain going under and coming out of anesthetic and found that the concentration of anesthetic at emergence was lower than the concentration when entering the state.

This indicates that the brain resists returning to the waking state and requires more anesthesia to make the transition back to consciousness.

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