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While sleeping brains lie, spines quake.

While sleeping brains lie, spines quake

It is not the cold, but rather the effect of the anesthesia that causes the tremors experienced by half the patients anesthetized for surgery each year, say scientists in California and Minnesota. In a small study of nine women recovering from general anesthesia, researchers at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) and Los Angeles and at the University of Minnesota in Duluth examined the sometimes-violent shaking in patients seen while anesthesia is wearing off following surgery. The shaking typically lasts 15 minutes, increases blood pressure and can tear sutures.

Since first described in 1950, the postoperative shaking was thought to be simple shivering due to cold in the operating room and a drop in body temperature. But the recent study found that the effects of anesthetics wear off in the spien earlier than in the brain, disrupting the normal control of reflex muscle movement. In a statement released by UCSF, the scientists suggest that, because the tremors seem to be triggered by cold skin, warming the skin with infrared heat lamps should prevent postoperative shaking. The researchers also found that, contrary to popular medical opinion, anesthetized individuals can regulate their body temperature, although at a lower level than the average 98.6[deg.]F.
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Title Annotation:effect of anesthesia found to be cause of postoperative tremors
Publication:Science News
Date:Mar 12, 1988
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