Research Shows General Anesthesia Causes Internal 'Jet-Lag'

Researchers have discovered that general anesthetic alters the functioning of genes that control the body's biological clock, according to a study published in the latest issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Scientists at the University of Auckland in New Zealand studied the effect of general anesthesia on honey bees, noting that the bees' sense of time was significantly slowed during anesthesia.

"Our work shows that general anesthesia effectively shifts you to a different time zone, producing chemically-induced jet-lag," said lead researcher Guy Warman, MD, of the university's Department of Anesthesiology and School of Biological Sciences. "By understanding why this happens we can work out how to treat it and potentially improve post-operative recovery."

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