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Science

Submission + - Are Patients Under Anesthesia Really Unconscious? (sciencemag.org)

sciencehabit writes: The prospect of undergoing surgery while not fully "under" may sound like the stuff of horror movies. But one patient in a thousand remembers moments of awareness while under general anesthesia, physicians estimate. The memories are sometimes neutral images or sounds of the operating room, but occasionally patients report being fully aware of pain, terror, and immobility. Though surgeons scrupulously monitor vital signs such as pulse and blood pressure, anesthesiologists have no clear signal of whether the patient is conscious. But a new study finds that the brain may produce an early-warning signal that consciousness is returning—one that's detectable by electroencephalography (EEG), the recording of neural activity via electrodes on the skull.

Submission + - Sounds of Distress: Legal Doping? (wsj.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Wall Street Journal reports that the sound of a crying baby triggers a physiological state of high alert in adults that motivates them to act. In new research it was found that physiological responses to infant cries translate into measurable differences in accuracy and speed of physical movements. Forty volunteers listened on earphones to three sound categories that included distressed infants, distressed adults and high-pitched birdsongs. They listened to each sound category for 4.5 minutes and then played a small-scale version of the classic arcade game Whac-A-Mole for 60 seconds. Both men and women scored significantly higher after listening to the infant cries than the other sounds. Perhaps Olympic athletes should be listening to baby cries before competing?

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