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Brain monitor puts patients at ease

Swinburne Magazine

Key points

  • A Swinburne researcher and his commercial partner have developed a brain monitoring system to improve  the safety and recovery of people undergoing surgery 
  • Anaesthetists are constrained by current technology, which cannot separately monitor consciousness and pain in patients
  • Investors are being sought for the technology to be on the market by 2013

“I felt my chest being cut open and blood being mopped away. I heard and felt the saw cutting through my chest bone,” Norman Dalton told the UK's The Independent newspaper in 2004 in a harrowing account of his heart bypass operation.

Disorderly genius: How chaos drives the brain

HAVE you ever experienced that eerie feeling of a thought popping into your head as if from nowhere, with no clue as to why you had that particular idea at that particular time? You may think that such fleeting thoughts, however random they seem, must be the product of predictable and rational processes. After all, the brain cannot be random, can it? Surely it processes information using ordered, logical operations, like a powerful computer?

Actually, no. In reality, your brain operates on the edge of chaos. Though much of the time it runs in an orderly and stable way, every now and again it suddenly and unpredictably lurches into a blizzard of noise.