Neuroimaging: Thought Consciousness of Anesthesia

Roshni Khatri

29th Sep'22

“Coma or Anesthesia”, we all are familiar with these words. But in reality, we do not want to be in this state ever, right? However, it cannot be ignored that these processes are essential to cure severe diseases. 

 

Have you ever thought about what happens to your body and your consciousness while you are under anesthesia? Well, the question is mysterious for all who have not been through this process. I would rather say that hopefully, we should not ever go through it. 

 

Anyway, that’s a different part. We shall discuss anesthesia and aware coma consciousness in this article. Due to the lack of external stimuli, states like coma and general anesthesia can endure within the boundaries of the mind.

 

Although it is yet unknown what happens to the brain under general anesthesia, still it has been suggested that both active and passive thinking patterns are transferred across the memory. Let’s look into this more thoroughly!

 

Coma or Anesthesia

Patients who have major surgeries, such as cardiac transplants, need general anesthesia. But putting patients to "sleep" might not be the best way to describe the process, argued the authors of a new review paper, published in the “December 30 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine”.

 

Neoroimging

 

In the U.S. Nearly 60000 people are being put into drug-induced comas by anesthesiologists every day. Emery Brown, a professor of anesthesiology at Harvard Medical School states “It is a reversible coma, but a coma.”

 

Before major surgery, general anesthesia reduces brain activity. It is found that the anesthesiologists tell the patients that they will be asleep rather than unconscious. Careful monitoring, breathing assistance, and temperature control are necessary for inducing coma-like states. This necessitates the careful balancing act of hypnotics, inhalants, opioids, muscle relaxants, and cardiovascular medications.

Besides this extended reality in healthcare is empowering virtual technology in the medical field.

 

Thought of Consciousness

Surgery used to be a terrifying experience that ended with a pleasant slumber thanks to the invention of general anesthesia. Even though it is one of the most widespread medical procedures in the world, we are still unsure of how the medications function.

 

Perhaps this isn't surprising; we still don't fully grasp consciousness, so how can we explain how it vanishes? However due to the development of new techniques for imaging the brain has recorded the electric activity during anesthesia. In the past five years, studies have been revealed in terms of consciousness and how anesthetic might disturb consciousness and what they explain to us about it. 

 

One of the greatest mysteries of life is the cosmos, and everything is consciousness. Every one of us has experienced it, but we cannot even agree on what it is. 

 

How does the tiny jelly sac that makes up our brain accept information about the outside world and turn it into the wonderful experience of being alive? Disappointingly, not even our ever-improving technology for looking inside the brain has succeeded in identifying a structure that might serve as the source of awareness. 

 

Of course, altered awareness happens whenever we fall asleep, as well as if we're unfortunate enough to get hit in the head. It doesn't just happen during general anesthesia. However, anesthesia does provide neuroscientists with the ability to precisely, securely, and irreversibly alter human consciousness. It became a medical speciality for those who honed their skills in administering these drugs. The affable "gas men" hold you in the limbo between life and death, despite being long eclipsed by the doctors who patch you up.

 

Neuroimaging

 

Although it's common to think of consciousness as an all-or-nothing state in which you're either awake or asleep, as I've learned, there are several degrees of anesthesia. 

 

In addition to this, Propofol injections are now used to initiate anesthesia, which results in a quick and painless transition to unconsciousness. An inhaled anesthetic, such as isoflurane, is then typically administered to provide better minute-by-minute control of the degree of anesthesia unless the procedure is only expected to last a few minutes.

 

What Happens During Anesthesia?

There are some internal senses which report all the time to memory locations in the brain. They send the signals often but they become something else when they get to the sensory processing hubs in the brain. It affects the theoretical processing of our uniform quantity of sensory processing. It gets relayed to the other parts of the cerebral cortex for interpretation. And this interpretation can be of knowing, feeling and reacting.

 

We can say this knowing in the memory. As thoughts are the versions of signals or senses to the brain, so the thoughts are stored in the memory. They are also classified in that way so that, during interactions or activities, storage is transferred between groups — for both internal and external stimuli.

 

Neuroimaging

 

There is usually one form of transportation that is the most active; others are in motion but are considered inactive. As a result, there is extensive brain-to-brain thinking form transfer in any living system. Transports, which are dominated by distorted copies of internal senses, persist but are limited during a coma.

 

The quality of being, or consciousness, or what constitutes experience, is a form of thought and it goes to memory locations. 

Besides this you should also address the biggest future trends in healthcare as it can mold our life towards technical advancements.

 

Conclusion

It is complicated how general anesthesia, brain activity, and consciousness mechanisms interact. In actuality, anesthetic drugs have specialized, dose-dependent effects on the brain systems that support internal consciousness and environmental perception rather than broadly blunting out brain activity.  Each substance has a unique mode of action and generates various phenomenologically altered states of consciousness depending on the dose.

 

Insights into the specific diagnoses of anesthesia-induced altered states of consciousness and the understanding of the various facets of consciousness itself are likely to be gained by answering the questions that have recently surfaced in the wake of recent discoveries on the effects of anesthetics on the brain.

 

In this way, general anesthesia can be viewed as a versatile tool for probing awareness.

 

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A keen observer, who loves to spend time with nature. A fun loving person, enjoys to explore the new aspects of life. Passionate about reading and learning new things. Roshni is dedicated towards her work and has worked in different professions.

Comments

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29th Sep'22 07:11:31 PM

It's becoming clear that with all the brain and consciousness theories out there, the proof will be in the pudding. By this I mean, can any particular theory be used to create a human adult level conscious machine. My bet is on the late Gerald Edelman's Extended Theory of Neuronal Group Selection. The lead group in robotics based on this theory is the Neurorobotics Lab at UC at Irvine. Dr. Edelman distinguished between primary consciousness, which came first in evolution, and that humans share with other conscious animals, and higher order consciousness, which came to only humans with the acquisition of language. A machine with primary consciousness will probably have to come first. What I find special about the TNGS is the Darwin series of automata created at the Neurosciences Institute by Dr. Edelman and his colleagues in the 1990's and 2000's. These machines perform in the real world, not in a restricted simulated world, and display convincing physical behavior indicative of higher psychological functions necessary for consciousness, such as perceptual categorization, memory, and learning. They are based on realistic models of the parts of the biological brain that the theory claims subserve these functions. The extended TNGS allows for the emergence of consciousness based only on further evolutionary development of the brain areas responsible for these functions, in a parsimonious way. No other research I've encountered is anywhere near as convincing. I post because on almost every video and article about the brain and consciousness that I encounter, the attitude seems to be that we still know next to nothing about how the brain and consciousness work; that there's lots of data but no unifying theory. I believe the extended TNGS is that theory. My motivation is to keep that theory in front of the public. And obviously, I consider it the route to a truly conscious machine, primary and higher-order. My advice to people who want to create a conscious machine is to seriously ground themselves in the extended TNGS and the Darwin automata first, and proceed from there, by applying to Jeff Krichmar's lab at UC Irvine, possibly. Dr. Edelman's roadmap to a conscious machine is at https://arxiv.org/abs/2105.10461