Medical College brings international conference to Milwaukee

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:51 am

Nearly 100 anesthesiologists, psychiatrists, brain researchers and physicians from around the world will meet in Milwaukee this weekend for the Eighth International Symposium on Memory and Awareness in Anesthesia at the Pfister Hotel, today through Sunday, June 5. The tri-annual conference has existed for more than twenty years and has never been held in Milwaukee.
“The conference grew out of the realization that patients sometimes experience what we call anesthesia awareness where the patient has some recollection or memory of what occurred during their surgery,” said Anthony Hudetz, Ph.D and professor of anesthesiology, Physiology and Biophysics at the Medical College of Wisconsin and lead organizer of the conference.
The conference has been held in cities across the globe including the United Kingdom’s Glasgow in 1989; Atlanta, Ga.; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Harrow, UK; New York, N.Y.; Hull, UK and Munich, Germany, Hudetz said.
“We are very pleased and proud to bring this conference to Milwaukee for the first time,” Hudetz said. “The anesthesiology department at the Medical College of Wisconsin is already very well known. Bringing this meeting here allows our program and our school additional recognition and the ability to showcase Milwaukee, it’s a good thing for the school and the city.” The conference will showcase more than 20 internationally known speakers on anesthesia awareness, Hudetz said.
According to Hudetz, the conference brings together researchers, anesthesiologists and other medical professionals all across the globe to study this phenomenon and work towards correcting it.
“Anesthesiology is very very safe,” Hudetz said. “It’s one of the safest procedures performed during an operation, but there are those very rare instances where a patient experiences anesthesia awareness and even sometimes unpleasant feelings. We come together to understand why anesthesia awareness occurs and how we can correct it and make the use of anesthesia even more safe.”
Equipment error, human error or simply differences in the way patients respond to anesthesia could be causes of anesthesia awareness, Hudetz said.
“Researchers and medical professionals from all across the globe are working to understand why some people respond differently to anesthesia and how we can correct that problem.”
The conference also highlights new devices and techniques to monitor the state of the brain during an operation and also makes a deeper connection to the study of basic neuroscience and understanding of how the brain produces awareness, awareness when asleep basic understanding of brain function, Hudetz said.
“Anesthetic drugs give us a unique tool to study consciousness,” he said. “In a careful and controlled manner we are able to manipulate a person’s consciousness, so it is extremely helpful to further understand and research the basic functions of the human brain as well.”
Neuroscientists, psychologists, psychiatrists, medical engineers, and physicists will also be in attendance at the conference.


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