When anesthesiologists are keeping track of how unconscious you are, they monitor indicators such as blood pressure, heart rate, and movement, even though what anesthesia drugs act upon is the nervous system.
As an anesthesiologist, neuroscientist and statistician, Emery Brown has sought to bring anesthesiology and neuroscience together to improve clinical practice and outcomes. For several years he has studied the precise neural circuit mechanisms of action of the commonly used anesthetic drugs and has rigorously documented hallmark EEG signatures that the anesthetized brain exhibits (including how they change with different drugs and with age).
From all that work, his lab has developed algorithms that allow anesthesiologists to monitor EEGs in the operating room to have a much more direct and principled sense of how well anesthetized patients are. He has shown, for instance, that to keep many patients properly anesthetized requires much lower doses than conventional wisdom suggests. When anesthesiologists administer lower doses, patients recover more quickly, lucidly and comfortably.
Brown has published numerous papers on his findings, but they are all usefully encapsulated for his colleagues at the website http://www.anesthesiaeeg.com. There he helps colleagues learn how neuroscience can improve anesthesiology.