Chicago—Two persistent medical mysteries, the mechanisms of sleep and anesthesia, are converging in research that may help unravel the secrets of these phenomena and may one day lead to improved techniques for anesthesia and for treating sleep deprivation.
Although there are important differences between sleep and anesthesia—for example, a sleeping person is easily awakened by painful stimuli—some scientists are focusing on the overlap between the two. Their findings are providing insights that may one day allow physicians to better tailor anesthesia to individual patients, improve anesthesia safety, and provide better treatments for sleep problems.
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