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Humans are partially conscious when under general anaesthetic, new research suggests.
Half of people given a sedative can be woken with a brief shake and a loud shout, while 42 per cent of those under general anaesthetic can be roused into consciousness, a study found.
Knife - Brains - Track - Noises - Research
Although they are unable to feel pain while under the knife, their brains keep track of what is going on around them, particularly if they hear worrying noises, the research adds.
Some are even able to remember parts of operations, albeit a little hazily.
Study - Author - Antti - Revonsuo - University
Study author Antti Revonsuo, from the University of Turku, Finland, said: 'Nearly all participants reported dream-like experiences that sometimes mixed with the reality.'
How the research was carried out
Researchers - People - Dexmedetomidine - Propofol
The researchers analysed 47 healthy people who were given either the sedative dexmedetomidine or the general anaesthetic propofol until they were unable to respond.
While the drugs were being infused, attempts were made to rouse the participants.
Drug - Concentrations - Participants - Consciousness
Drug concentrations were then increased until the participants appeared to lose consciousness.
The participants brain waves were recorded throughout the experiment.
Participants - Recordings - Sentences - Night - Sky
All the participants were also played recordings of sentences that ended unexpectedly, such as 'the night sky was filled with shimmering tomatoes', while other sound bites were completely normal.
'Anaesthesia just disconnects the patient from the environment'
Results - People - Sleep - Sense - Consciousness
Brain-wave results suggest people alternate between deep sleep and a higher sense of consciousness while supposedly out cold.
The brain waves of sedated people...
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