13 Nov 2008

Bees And Anaesthesia

From Our Changing World, 9:34 pm on 13 November 2008

Coming out of anaesthesia is a bit like waking up from a very deep sleep, and it is impossible to tell how much time has passed. In a Marsden project, a team of medical researchers and neurobiologists have set out to explore whether the effect of anaesthesia on time perception is equivalent to that of sleep - and they are using honey bees as a model.

Guy Warman, at the University of Auckland's department of Anaesthesiology, and Randolf Menzel, a neurobiologist at the Free University of Berlin, explain how they will train bees to do certain tasks and compare their performance before and after being treated with an anaesthetic. The scientists say they aim to find out whether anaesthesia "steal time" by shifting the circadian clock to a new time zone or by changing the perception of time without affecting the clock.