Loss of Recall and the Hippocampal Circuit Effects Produced by Anesthetics

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In the last decade, there has been a tremendous interest in the effects produced by general anesthetics on learning and memory. This has occurred for several reasons, including the rare but devastating clinical consequences of failing to block recall during surgery, the recognition that amnesia is an important component of anesthesia, a refined understanding of the synaptic basis for information storage, and an interest in using anesthetics as tools to probe learning and memory circuits in the brain. Also during this time, powerful new experimental approaches have been brought into focus to study anesthetic actions on learning. This chapter will review new findings that have emerged from this intersection of combined interest and detailed physiological studies of anesthetic effects on the circuits underlying learning and memory.