Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Symposium 1: ch. Engel

Tuesday, July 3 2012 11:00-13:00 @ Dome Theatre

Symposium 1: "Consciousness fading"

Chair: Andreas K. Engel (Dept. of Neurophysiology and Pathophysiology University Medical Center, Hamburg, Germany)


Introduction by Andreas Engel.

Manipulating consciousness by anesthetic agents is everyday clinical practice. However, the key mechanisms underlying pharmacologically induced breakdown of consciousness are still largely unresolved. Unraveling the neural determinants of loss of consciousness, apart from its obvious medical advances, may shed new light on brain processes relevant for the emergence of consciousness. The presentations of this symposium will discuss complementary findings that suggest convergent conclusions and highlight the implications of anesthesia research for understanding the neural mechanisms of consciousness. The first and the second presentation will focus on propofol anesthesia as a model of drug-induced loss of consciousness, and discuss recent experimental evidence suggesting that propofol anesthesia induces hypersynchronous ongoing activity leading to a brain state during which information processing is severely compromised, and functional integration across different areas is strongly reduced. The second presentation will also highlight potential similarities between the neurophysiological changes induced by propofol and those observed during sleep. The third presentation of the symposium will, in addition to discussing recent modeling work on the mechanisms of propofol anesthesia, provide a broader framework for understanding changes in neural dynamics under general anesthesia.

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