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Saturday, 16 January 2016

Brain waves predicts how we respond to anaesthetics

In the current scenario, patients undergo surgery after proper dose of anaesthetics which is called Marsh Model that depends on a factor such as individual’s body weight to predict the amount of drug required. Consciousness of patient is maintained in a crude way. If one is still deemed awake, they are given more anaesthetics. However, there is always a risk of using high dose of anaesthetics.

The complex pattern of ‘chatter’ between different areas of an individual’s brain while they are awake could help doctors better track and even predict their response to general anaesthesia – and better identify the amount of anaesthetic necessary – according to new research from the University of Cambridge. (Source: University of Cambridge)
A research published in PLOS computational biology on 14th January 2016, researchers from University of Cambridge studied how brain signals measured using EEG (electroencephalogram) changed as healthy volunteers received infusion of propofol, a common anaesthetic.
The study was investigated on twenty individuals (9male, 11female) where each received steadily increasing dose of propofol reaching a same limit. As they were infusing the drug, they introduced ‘ping’ and ‘pong’ sound if patient can able to hear. At the same time, researchers were tracking brain network activity by EEG.

As the maximum dose reached, some volunteers were awake to do the task and some were unconscious. Through EEG readings, researchers clearly differentiate between those who were responding to anaesthetics and those who awake to do the task. This brain’s signature in a network of communications between brain areas carried by alpha waves (brain cell oscillations in the frequency of range of 7.5 to 12.5Hz), the normal range of electric activity of brain during consciousness and relaxes.

Dr. Srivas Chenu, Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Cambridge mentions in University Research Bulletin, “A very good way of predicting how an individual responds to our anaesthetic was the state of the brain  network activity at the start of the procedure. The greater the network activity at the start, the more anaesthetic they are likely to need to put them under.”


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