How Does Anesthesia Work?

Reactions won’t put you to sleep this week with our video on the chemistry behind anesthesia and how it works. October 16 is World Anesthesia Day, celebrating the 170th anniversary of the first successful demonstration of surgical anesthesia. Prior to then, surgery was really unpleasant, to put it mildly — surgeons turned to alcohol, narcotics and even smacking their patients on the head to induce unconsciousness. Fortunately, anesthesia now allows tens of thousands patients every day to avoid the pain and memories of their procedures. But how does anesthesia work? This week, Reactions looks at scientists’ current understanding of what happens when you go under.

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Judith Lavelle

Narrator/Executive Producer:
Adam Dylewski

Video Producer:
Sean Parsons

Scientific consultants:
Darcy Gentleman, Ph.D.
Kyle Nackers

Ever wonder why dogs sniff each others’ butts? Or how Adderall works? Or whether it’s OK to pee in the pool? We’ve got you covered: Reactions a web series about the chemistry that surrounds you every day.

Reactions is produced by the American Chemical Society.

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