Article published in:New Horizons in the Neuroscience of Consciousness
Edited by Elaine K. Perry, Daniel Collerton, Fiona E.N. LeBeau and Heather Ashton
[Advances in Consciousness Research 79] 2010
► pp. 65–72
The neuroscience of general anaesthesia
We discuss the molecular and cognitive mechanisms of general anaesthesia and their relevance to the science of consciousness. General anaesthetics serve as an important tool to explore the transitions from conscious to unconscious processing, as these drugs rapidly induce a complete and reversible cessation of consciousness. With 40,000,000 patients undergoing general anaesthesia each year in North America alone, the highly controlled and monitored setting of the operating room can become the ultimate consciousness laboratory.
Published online: 28 October 2010