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Penn study sheds light on how the brain shifts between sleep/awake states under anesthesia
Date:8/26/2010

ects exhibited a delay in return to a state of consciousness despite the reduced concentration of the anesthetic.

The researchers observed that once a group of animal subjects underwent a transition from wakefulness to anesthetic-induced unconsciousness, the subjects exhibited resistance to the return of the wakeful state. Based on their findings, the authors propose a fundamental and biologically conserved state, which they call neural inertia, a tendency of the CNS to resist transitions between consciousness and unconsciousness.

"The findings from this study may provide insights into the regulation of sleep as well as states in which return of consciousness is pathologically impaired such as some types of coma," said Kelz. "This line of research may one day help us to develop novel anesthetic drugs and targeted therapies for patients who have different forms of sleep disorders or who have the potential to awaken from coma but remain stuck in comatose states for months or years."


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Contact: Jessica Mikulski
jessica.mikulski@uphs.upenn.edu
215-349-8369
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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