Research Examines Patients' Brains After Anesthesia

Examining the brains of healthy volunteers, a team of scientists has imaged the process of returning to consciousness after being administered general anesthesia, according to a News-Medical report.

The team of scientists from the University of Turku in Finland and the University of California in Irvine discovered that the emergence of consciousness is associated with activations of deep, primitive brain structures rather than the neocortex. The results mark a significant step forward in the scientific explanation of human consciousness.

"The central core structures of the more primitive brain structures including the thalamus and parts of the limbic system appeared to become functional first, suggesting that a foundational primitive conscious state must be restored before higher order conscious activity can occur," said study author Harry Scheinin, MD.

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