Why Does Anesthesia Cause Unconsciousness?
The study found that anesthesia may affect the organization of lipids in a cell's outer membrane, potentially altering the ability to send signals along nerve cell membranes. Researchers used neutron and X-ray diffraction devices to explore how a model cell membrane responded to two chemicals: inhaled anesthetic and a chemical that does not cause unconsciousness but possesses similar properties.
Researchers found a significant difference in the way the lipid rafts responded. Exposing the membranes to an anesthetic caused the rafts to grow in a disorderly manner, mixing lipids with the surrounding membrane. The second chemical had a drastically smaller effect.
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