His findings allow him to safely give less anesthesia, for example, which can have important benefits for patients.
The key has been to develop a theoretical (i.e. neuroscientific) and analytical (i.e. statistical) understanding of electroencephalogram (EEG) brain wave measurements of patients under general anesthesia. In a presentation at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Austin, Texas, Feb. 16, Brown described how anesthesia’s effects in the brain produce specific patterns of brain waves and how monitoring them via EEG data can lead to better care. He spoke as part of a broader discussion on the use of data analysis in brain research.
“We should use neuroscience and neuroscience paradigms to try to understand what’s happening in the brain under general anesthesia,” said Brown, Edward Hood Taplin Professor of Medical Engineering and Computational Neuroscience in the Institute for Medical Engineering and Science and the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT. “It’s a neurophysiological process that affects the brain and central nervous system so how can it be that what’s being developed in the neuroscience field is not being brought to bear to the question of the brain under anesthesia?”