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TO VIEW A RECORDING OF THIS SEMINAR, PLEASE CONTACT k.hobson@imperial.ac.uk

Centre for Neurotechnology seminar from Emery N Brown

Edward Hood Taplin Professor of Medical Engineering and of Computational Neuroscience, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Professor of Health Sciences and Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Warren M. Zapol Professor of Anaesthesia, Harvard Medical School

Talk title: Deciphering the Dynamics of the Unconscious Brain Under General Anesthesia

Abstract: General anesthesia is a drug-induced, reversible condition comprised of five behavioral states: unconsciousness, amnesia (loss of memory), antinociception (loss of pain sensation), akinesia (immobility), and hemodynamic stability with control of the stress response. Our work shows that a primary mechanism through which anesthetics create these altered states of arousal is by initiating and maintaining highly structured oscillations. These oscillations impair communication among brain regions. We illustrate this effect by presenting findings from our human studies of general anesthesia using high-density EEG recordings and intracranial recordings. These studies have allowed us to give a detailed characterization of the neurophysiology of loss and recovery of consciousness due to propofol. We show how these dynamics change systematically with different anesthetic classes and with age. As a consequence, we have developed a principled, neuroscience-based paradigm for using the EEG to monitor the brain states of patients receiving general anesthesia. We demonstrate that the state of general anesthesia can be rapidly reversed by activating specific brain circuits. Finally, we demonstrate that the state of general anesthesia can be controlled using closed loop feedback control systems.  The success of our research has depended critically on tight coupling of experiments, signal processing research and mathematical modeling.

Bio: Emery N. Brown, M.D., Ph.D. is the Warren M. Zapol Professor of Anaesthesia at Harvard Medical School; an anesthesiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital; and the Edward Hood Taplin Professor of Medical Engineering and Computational Neuroscience at MIT. Dr. Brown is an anesthesiologist-statistician whose research is defining the neuroscience of how anesthetics produce general anesthesia. He also develops statistical methods for neuroscience data analysis. Dr. Brown has received the American Society of Anesthesiologists Excellence in Research Award and the Dickson Prize in Science, the Swartz Prize for Computational and Theoretical Neuroscience, and a Doctor of Science Honoris Causa from the University of Southern California. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts Sciences and the U.S. National Academy of Inventors. Dr. Brown is a member of the U. S. National Academy of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering.


The seminar will take place via Microsoft Teams. Advance registration is required. A link and instructions on how to access the event are provided in your registration confirmation email and a reminder will be sent before the event.

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