Auditory stimulation does not induce implicit memory during anaesthesia

Background and aim of the study: Formation of implicit memory during general anaesthesia is still debated. Perceptual learning is the ability to learn to perceive. In this study, an auditory perceptual learning paradigm, using frequency discrimination, was performed to investigate the implicit memory. It was hypothesized that auditory stimulation would successfully induce perceptual learning. Thus, initial thresholds of the frequency discrimination postoperative task should be lower for the stimulated group (group S) compared to the control group (group C). Material and method: Eighty-seven patients ASA I-III undergoing visceral and orthopaedic surgery during general anaesthesia lasting more than 60 minutes were recruited. The anaesthesia procedure was standardized (BISR monitoring included). Group S received auditory stimulation (2000 pure tones applied for 45 minutes) during the surgery. Twenty-four hours after the operation, both groups performed ten blocks of the frequency discrimination task. Mean of the thresholds for the first three blocks (T1) were compared between groups. Results: Mean age and BIS value of group S and group C are respectively 40 } 11 vs 42 } 11 years (p = 0,49) and 42 } 6 vs 41 } 8 (p = 0.87). T1 is respectively 31 } 33 vs 28 } 34 (p = 0.72) in group S and C. Conclusion: In our study, no implicit memory during general anaesthesia was demonstrated. This may be explained by a modulation of the auditory evoked potentials caused by the anaesthesia, or by an insufficient longer time of repetitive stimulation to induce perceptual learning.

Published in:
Swiss Medical Weekly, 139, 8S-8S
Presented at:
Annual meeting of the Swiss Society of Anaesthesiology and Resuscitation, Interlaken, Switzerland, October 29-31, 2009
Swiss Medical Publishers Ltd / EMH Swiss Medical Publishers

 Record created 2010-11-30, last modified 2018-09-13

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