What is the precise physical and mental state produced by anesthetic drugs? Despite a century and a half of reliance on these drugs to advance life-saving surgical techniques, physicians and scientists still don't know the answer to that question. "All we know for sure when we give patients anesthetic drugs is that they don't respond to pain and they don't remember the experience," says Roderic G. Eckenhoff, MD, an associate professor of anesthesiology and physiology. "We don't know how the drugs work or even where in the central nervous system they act to produce their effects on consciousness." Eckenhoff is leading a multidisciplinary research effort to identify the molecular mechanism -- or mechanisms -- of action for the small, two- or three-carbon molecules that produce anesthesia.
The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Pennsylvania Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.
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