Understanding of anesthesia - why consciousness is essential for life and not based on genes
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CitationFrantišek Baluška. Ken Yokawa. Stefano Mancuso. Keith Baverstock. (2016). Understanding of anesthesia - why consciousness is essential for life and not based on genes. Communicative & Integrative Biology, 9 (6) , e1238118. 10.1080/19420889.2016.1238118.
Anesthesia and consciousness represent 2 mysteries not only for biology but also for physics and philosophy. Although anesthesia was introduced to medicine more than 160 y ago, our understanding of how it works still remains a mystery. The most prevalent view is that the human brain and its neurons are necessary to impose the effects of anesthetics. However, the fact is that all life can be anesthesized. Numerous theories have been generated trying to explain the major impact of anesthetics on our human-specific consciousness; switching it off so rapidly, but no single theory resolves this enduring mystery. The speed of anesthetic actions precludes any direct involvement of genes. Lipid bilayers, cellular membranes, and critical proteins emerge as the most probable primary targets of anesthetics. Recent findings suggest, rather surprisingly, that physical forces underlie both the anesthetic actions on living organisms as well as on consciousness in general.