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Anesthetics Interact Directly with Proteins, Study Finds



Portrait of Dr. Hugh Hemmings Jr., M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Hugh Hemmings Jr., M.D., Ph.D.

Orthopedics This Week, a publication for professionals in the field, recently featured a study co-authored by Dr. Hugh Hemmings, Jr., the chairman of the Department of Anesthesiology at Weill Cornell Medicine. 

The study, published March 6 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, aims to settle a century-old debate about the way anesthesia works to induce unconsciousness, which allows patients to undergo procedures without pain or memory.

One long-held hypothesis suggests that anesthetics modify the cell membrane, indirectly affecting proteins. Dr. Hemmings’ research, however, challenges that theory. His findings suggest anesthetics have “a direct effect on integral membrane proteins…to put patients in a coma-like state.”

Head over to Orthopedics This Week to learn more about the study.