Posted: April 2, 2012 by Wildcat in Uncategorized
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Why does inhaling anesthetics cause unconsciousness? New insights into this century-and-a-half-old question may spring from research performed at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Scientists from NIST and the National Institutes of Health have found hints that anesthesia may affect the organization of fat molecules, or lipids, in a cell’s outer membrane — potentially altering the ability to send signals along nerve cell membranes. “A better fundamental understanding of inhaled anesthetics could allow us to design better ones with fewer side effects,” says Hirsh Nanda, a scientist at the NIST Center for Neutron Research (NCNR). “How these chemicals work in the body is a scientific mystery that stretches back to the Civil War.” (via NIST findings awaken age-old anesthesia question | e! Science News)

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