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Noxious stimulation in children receiving general anaesthesia evokes an increase in delta frequency brain activity

The prevention of pain is one of the primary goals of anaesthesia during surgical procedures. More than 235,000 children per year in the UK receive general anaesthesia, but it is still unclear whether painful stimuli alter cortical brain activity in anaesthetised children.

New research published last week in the journal Pain aims to provide a more sensitive way of investigating whether current analgesic strategies used by anaesthetists are adequately antinociceptive, utilising a novel method of time-locking EEG measurements of delta brain activity to the timing of clinical and experimental procedures developed by the Paediatric Neuroimaging team here at the University of Oxford. The research was supported by the Wellcome Trust, and conducted in collaboration with the Oxford Children's Hospital.