THU, SEP 1, 2016
5 Surprising Anesthesia Facts
1 ) When invented in the 1840s, some people criticized anesthesia as a “needless luxury.”
In the nineteenth century, clergymen objected greatly to the use of anesthetics to reduce pain during childbirth as they described it to be a frustration of the Almighty’s designs.
James Miller, a nineteenth-century Scottish surgeon who chronicled the advent of anesthesia, observed the opposition of elderly surgeons: “They closed their ears, shut their eyes, and folded their hands. . . . They had quite made up their minds that pain was a necessary evil, and must be endured.”
However, the use of chloroform by Queen Victoria during the delivery of her youngest child, Princess Beatrice in 1857, significantly changed the social attitudes toward the use of pain relief in delivery and surgery, despite the persistent objections from clergyman and medical officials.
2) The earliest known anesthetic in history dated from around 4000 B.C.
In ancient Sumer, a region of Mesopotamia and the first urban civilization to exist, it is believed that alcohol and opium poppy were used as the very first form of anesthetics civilization had ever known. This allowed ancient surgeons to conduct prolonged surgical procedures; however it’s likely that they did not understand the concept of dosage moderation or sterilization.
3) It is illegal in many countries to perform surgical procedures on an octopus. The reason: its intelligence.
Octopi are highly intelligent, possibly more so than any other order of invertebrates. The exact extent of their intelligence and learning capability is much debated among biologists, however maze and problem-solving experiments have shown evidence of a memory system that can store both short- and long-term memory. It is not known precisely what contribution learning makes to adult octopus behavior. Young octopuses learn almost no behaviors from their parents, with whom they have very little contact
4) A Pennsylvania surgeon cut out his own appendix to prove the effectiveness of local anesthesia
On February 15, 1921, Dr. Evan O'Neill Kane carried out his own appendectomy in an attempt to prove the efficacy of local anesthesia for such operations. He is believed to have been the first surgeon to have done so. However, Dr. Wiener previously performed appendectomies (on others) with local anesthetic. In 1932, at the age of 70, he performed an even more risky self-operation to repair his inguinal hernia.
5) Scientists still do not fully understand the biochemical mechanisms behind general anesthesia, despite it being in use for more than 150 years.
The simple answer to the question of how anesthesia works is that, although we know a great deal about the physiologic effects and anatomical sites of action, we have not fully cracked the code when it comes to understanding the logistics relating to molecular mechanisms in general anesthetics. However, medical technology is quickly progressing and it is likely that in the near future we will be able to observe the body on a molecular level, thus furthering our understanding of anesthesia and its effects on human biology.