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Rethinking General Anesthesia

Wednesday, November 18, 2020 - 3:00pm to 4:00pm


Emery N. Brown, M.D., Ph.D.
Warren M. Zapol Professor of Anaesthesia at Harvard Medical School/ Massachusetts General Anesthesia
Edward Hood Taplin Professor of Medical Engineering and Computational Neuroscience
Massachusetts Institute of Technology


We have established a systems neuroscience (conceptual, experimental, data analysis and modeling) paradigm for studying the mechanisms of general anesthesia-induced loss of consciousness. Through this work my research group has established specific neurophysiological mechanisms for general-anesthesia-induced unconsciousness in humans, non-human primates and rodents, and approaches to precisely control the anesthetic state. We are studying arousal states in general anesthesia and sedation which involves developing a detailed understanding of the neural circuitry of the brainstem, thalamus, and cortex. We are now adapting this neurophysiological understanding to improve brain state monitoring of patients receiving general anesthesia and to develop closed-loop anesthesia delivery for maintenance of unconsciousness.

In my signal processing and statistical methods research, we develop algorithms using likelihood, Bayesian, state-space, time-series and point process approaches to study how neural systems represent and transmit information. Our paradigm has been used to: provide dynamic characterizations of how neurons represent information and conduct dynamic assessments of learning.

The page was last updated on Friday, September 18, 2020 - 10:16am