Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Two Different Neural Pathways Regulate Loss And Regain Of Consciousness During General Anesthesia

Date:
January 14, 2008
Source:
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Summary:
Researchers have answered long-running questions about the way that anesthetics act on the body, by showing that the cellular pathway for emerging from anesthesia is different from the one that drugs take to put patients to sleep during operations.

University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine researchers have answered long-running questions about the way that anesthetics act on the body, by showing that the cellular pathway for emerging from anesthesia is different from the one that drugs take to put patients to sleep during operations.

The research focuses on orexins, the small, specialized fraction of the brain's 100 billion neurons that play a key role in regulating the body's wakeful state. Studying mice whose orexin systems had been genetically destroyed -- a state similar to humans suffering from narcolepsy, a neurological condition that causes unusual daytime sleepiness -- Max B. Kelz, MD, PhD, an assistant professor in Penn's Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care and the Mahoney Institute of Neurological Sciences, found that these mice took much longer to emerge from general anesthesia than those with normal orexin signaling systems.

However, the mice with faulty orexin systems did not appear to fall asleep faster during anesthesia, which suggests that different processes are at play when transitioning to and from the anesthetized stated.

"The modern expectation is that anesthesiologists can simply flip a consciousness switch as easily as we might turn the room lights on or off," says lead author Max B. Kelz, MD, PhD, an assistant professor in Penn's Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care and the Mahoney Institute of Neurological Sciences. "However, what patients do not realize is that despite 160 years of widespread clinical use, the mechanisms through which the state of anesthesia arises and dissipates remain unknown."

Kelz became interested in these questions after treating a narcoleptic patient who took more than six hours to regain consciousness after anesthesia, compared to the typical six minutes or so. By probing what's different about the narcoleptic brain, the Penn study has established for the first time that the process of entry into and exit from the anesthetized state are not mirror images of one another.

Kelz and his colleagues, including Sigrid Veasey, MD, associate professor in the Department of Medicine's Sleep Medicine division, hope that further research on the brain's neural signaling systems will lead to novel ways to administer anesthesia and "jump start" a speedy, safe return to consciousness -- particularly among patients who struggle to wake up or in patient groups that may be more prone to anesthesia side effects such as the elderly and patients with neurodegenerative disorders. The findings might also be used to create designer anesthetic agents that "hijack" the body's natural sleep cycles to mimic a state closer to natural sleep than a chemically-induced coma, Kelz says.

The findings will be published the week of January 11 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. "Two Different Neural Pathways Regulate Loss And Regain Of Consciousness During General Anesthesia." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 January 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080111175323.htm>.
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. (2008, January 14). Two Different Neural Pathways Regulate Loss And Regain Of Consciousness During General Anesthesia. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080111175323.htm
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. "Two Different Neural Pathways Regulate Loss And Regain Of Consciousness During General Anesthesia." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080111175323.htm (accessed August 21, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) Contains graphic content. He's only 17. But Johntrell Bowles has wanted to be a doctor from a young age, despite the odds against him. He was recently the youngest participant in a cadaver program at the Indiana University NW medical school. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) It's unclear whether the American Ebola patients' recoveries can be attributed to an experimental drug or early detection and good medical care. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Lost Brain Cells To Blame For Sleep Problems Among Seniors

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) According to a new study, elderly people might have trouble sleeping because of the loss of a certain group of neurons in the brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins