Undergoing anaesthesia may be more like falling asleep than we once thought, according to new research from Imperial College London and Harvard Medical School, USA.
Researchers report today in the journal Nature Neuroscience how two of the most widely used anaesthetics, pentobarbital and propofol induce sleep by mimicking the natural process of falling into a deep sleep.
Using behavioural studies and molecular imaging techniques in rats, the team of basic scientists and clinicians found that the sleep-inducing action of anaesthetics is localised to a small area of the brain, the tuberomammillary nucleus (TMN), part of the hypothalamic region that controls other fundamental processes such as breathing and temperature regulation.
Judith Moore | alfa
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