Even Though We Use Anesthesia, Scientists Aren’t Sure How It Works
Without anesthesia, surgery would be a lot more painful, if not downright impossible. If you’ve ever undergone surgery, you probably thanked anesthesia for making you unconscious and preventing an immense amount of pain from coursing through your body. In the past, surgeries without anesthesia were unbearable, and the advancements in modern medicine have made surgery a lot more pleasant. Before this magical drug, doctors used opium and hypnosis, though we’re not sure if it worked or not. In 1811, an English novelist by the name of Fanny Burney underwent surgery without any sort of numbing solution. In a letter to her sister, she wrote, “I began a scream that lasted unintermittingly [sic] during the whole time of the incision — and I almost marvel that it rings not in my ears still! So excruciating was the agony.” Fainting was the best outcome. Regardless, scientists are still unsure how anesthesia works. Some believe it’s affected the fatty parts of the brain and interrupts neural activity. Now, it’s said that certain receptors attach themselves to the anesthetic, which leads to unconsciousness. There may also be multiple processes at work (Medical News Today).