The Ruth K. Broad Foundation Seminar Series on Neurobiology and Disease
Neurobiology welcomes Dr. Emery Brown from MIT to give his talk "General Anesthesia, Neural Modulation and Altered States of Arousal".
Abstract: Our work shows that a primary mechanism through which anesthetics create these altered states of arousal is by initiating and maintaining highly structured oscillations in brain activity. These oscillations dramatically impair communication among brain regions. We illustrate this effect by presenting findings from our human studies of general anesthesia using high-density electroencephalogram (EEG) recordings and intracranial recordings. These recordings provide direct measurements of the brain activity and have allowed us to give a detailed characterization of the changes in brain activity that occur during loss and recovery of consciousness due to various anesthetic drugs. As a consequence, we have developed a principled, neuroscience-based paradigm for using the EEG to monitor the brain states of patients receiving general anesthesia. We demonstrate that the state of general anesthesia can be rapidly reversed by activating specific brain circuits. Finally, we demonstrate that the state of general anesthesia can be controlled using closed loop feedback systems. Our research makes clear that how anesthetics work should no longer be considered a mystery