Anesthetic Action

Anesthetic Action

Anesthesiologist, Professor and Researcher joined the faculty at University Medical Center in 1975. Dr. Stuart Hameroff’s research for over 40 years has involved consciousness (how the pinkish gray meat between our ears produces the richness of experiential awareness). Studying anesthetic gas mechanisms, he focused on how quantum effects control protein conformational dynamics. Following an interest which began in medical school in the computational capacity of microtubules inside neurons, Dr. Hameroff proposed in the early 1980’s that microtubules functioned as molecular computers. Hameroff’s 1987 book Ultimate Computing suggested downloading consciousness into microtubule arrays. In the mid-1990s Hameroff teamed with British physicist Sir Roger Penrose to develop the controversial theory of consciousness called “orchestrated objective reduction” – Orch OR theory – in which consciousness derives from quantum computations in microtubules inside brain neurons, quantum computations connected to the fine- scale structure of spacetime geometry. Dr. Hameroff has published five books and well over 100 research articles, and appeared in the film ‘What the Bleep do We Know?’ and numerous TV documentaries on the problem of consciousness including BBC, Discover Channel, History Channel, PBS, OWN, Huff Post Live and the film “What the Bleep?”


Hameroff S. Anesthetic action and ‘quantum consciousness’ – A match made in olive oil. Anesthesiology 129(2):228-2312, (2018).
TJA Craddock, P Kurian, J Preto, K Sahu, SR Hameroff, M Klobukowski, JA Tuszynski, Anesthetic alterations of collective terahertz oscillations in tubulin correlate with clinical potency: Implications for anesthetic action and post-operative cognitive dysfunction, Scientific Reports, 2017,7 (1), 9877.
TJA Craddock, SR Hameroff, JA Tuszynski, Ch 13 “Quantum Underground”: Where life and consciousness originate pp 459-515 in Biophysics of Consciousness: A Foundational Approach, October 2016, Eds, R. Poznanski, JA Tuszynski, TE Feinberg.
TJA Craddock, SR Hameroff, AT Ayoub, M Klobukowski, JA Tuszynski, Anesthetics Act in Quantum in Brain Microtubules to Prevent Consciousness, Current Topics in Medicinal Chemistry 15 (6), 523-533, 2015.
 J. A. Craddock, TravisR. Hameroff, StuartT. Ayoub, AhmedKlobukowski, MariuszA. Tuszynski, Jack,  Current Topics in Medicinal Chemistry, Volume 15, Number 6, March 2015, pp. 523-533(11),  Bentham Science Publishers. 
Oil and water don’t mix. Can that simple fact explain consciousness? In a special issue of ‘Current Topics in Medicinal Chemistry’ scientists from Nova Southeastern University, the University of Alberta and the University of Arizona find evidence that anesthetics act to prevent consciousness in non-polar, oil-like ‘quantum channels’ deep inside proteins, deep inside brain neurons. Anesthetic gas molecules selectively prevent consciousness, sparing non-conscious brain activities. But where, and how? At the turn of the 20th century, Meyer and Overton found that potency of various anesthetic gases correlated precisely with their solubility and binding in a non-polar medium akin to olive oil, later shown to be largely pi electron resonance clouds of ‘aromatic’ amino acid rings within brain proteins. Shielded from the polar environment, pi cloud arrays in photosynthesis proteins support quantum coherence. Could anesthesia block consciousness by preventing quantum coherence in brain proteins? Which proteins? After decades of inconclusive study of membrane receptor proteins, evidence for anesthetic action now points instead to a deeper level inside neurons, in non-polar regions inside the protein walls of cytoskeletal microtubules. Microtubules are protein lattice polymers which organize neuronal interiors and regulate synapses. Several theories suggest consciousness depends on microtubules acting as quantum computers whose quantum bits (‘qubits’) involve coherent dipole couplings among pi electron resonance clouds. Using molecular modeling, the US-Canadian team of Travis Craddock, Stuart Hameroff and Jack Tuszynski had previously shown anesthetic binding in ‘quantum channels’, non-polar arrays of amino acid pi resonance clouds, winding through microtubules. In the present study, the team modeled dipole-coupled oscillations between benzene ring pi resonance clouds and found intrinsic coherence at a frequency of 68 Terahertz (68 x 1015 Hz). With a nearby anesthetic molecule binding by van der Waals ‘dipole dispersion’ forces, the energy barrier increased, changing the clocking frequency by 20 percent. Thus anesthesia may dampen terahertz vibrations in quantum channels in brain microtubules. How would that cause loss of consciousness? Travis Craddock, lead author said: ‘The brain is looking like a scale-invariant hierarchy, with clocking frequencies at different spatio-temporal scales – clocks within clocks within clocks…. Anesthetics act at the deepest level, the fastest clock, the inner apex of a brain hierarchy in which consciousness occurs.
Craddock TJ, Friesen D, Mane J, Hameroff S, Tuszynski JA. The feasibility of coherent energy transfer in microtubules. J R Soc Interface. 2014 Nov 6;11(100):20140677.
Hameroff SR, Craddock TJ, Tuszynski JA. Quantum effects in the understanding of consciousness. J Integr Neurosci. 2014, Jun;13(2):229-52. doi: 10.1142/S0219635214400093.PMID: 25012711.
Quantum walks in brain microtubules–a biomolecular basis for quantum cognition? Hameroff, S., Top Cogn Sci. 2014, Jan; 6(1):91-7.doi:10.1111/tops.12068.Epub, 2014 Nov 21.
Stuart Hameroff, Michael Trakas, Chris Duffield, Emil Annabi, M. Bagambhrini Gerace, Patrick Boyle, Anthony Lucas, Quinlan Amos, Annemarie Buadu, John J. Badal. Transcranial Ultrasound (TUS) Effects on Mental States: A Pilot Study. Brain Stimulation, 2013; 6 (3): 409 DOI: 10.1016/j.brs.2012.05.002.
Hameroff, S. How quantum brain biology can rescue conscious free will, Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience, Oct 12, 2012.
Travis J. A. Craddock, Jack A. Tuszynski, Stuart Hameroff. Cytoskeletal Signaling: Is Memory Encoded in Microtubule Lattices by CaMKII Phosphorylation? PLoS Computational Biology, 2012; 8 (3): e1002421 DOI:10.1371/journal.pcbi.1002421.
Hameroff, S., Comment on: Comment on “Consciousness, biology and quantum hypotheses” in Quantum brain biology complements neuronal assembly approaches to consciousness by Baars and Edelman, S. Hameroff, Sci Direct, 2012; 11 July.

Craddock TJ, St George M, Freedman H, Barakat KH, Damaraju S, Hameroff S, Tuszynski JA. Computational predictions of volatile anesthetic interactions with the microtubule cytoskeleton: implications for side effects of general anesthesia. PLoS One. 2012;7(6):e37251. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0037251. Epub 2012 Jun 25. PMID: 22761654.
Zinc, microtubules and Alzheimer’s disease, in PLoS One, 2012; 7(3): e33552.
Anesthetics, tubulin and post-operative cognitive dysfunction, in PLoS One, June 25, 2012.

Stuart R. Hameroff, M.D., The Entwined Mysteries of Anesthesia and Consciousness: Is There a Common Underlying Mechanism?
Anesthesiology 8 2006, Vol.105, 400-412. August 2006.
Hameroff, S., Anesthesia, consciousness and hydrophobic pockets – a unitary quantum hypothesis of anesthetic action, Toxicology Letters, Volumes 100–101, 23, Pages 31-39, November 1998.

Davis TP, Veggeberg SK, Hameroff SR, Watts KL. Sensitive and quantitative determination of plasma doxepin and desmethyldoxepin in chronic pain patients by gas chromatography and mass spectrometry. J Chromatogr. 1983, Apr 8;273(2):436.
Hameroff SR, Otto CW, Kanel J, Weinstein PR, Blitt CD., Acute cardiovascular effects of dimethyl sulfoxide. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1983; 411:94-9.
Calkins JM, Waterson CK, Hameroff SR. Jet pulse characteristics in high frequency ventilation. Anesthesia and Analgesia, 1982; 6l:293-300.
Hameroff SR, Watt RC. Information processing in microtubules. J Theor Biol, 1982; 98:549-56l.
Hameroff, S. R.; Watt, R. C.; Borel, J. D.; Carlson, G. General Anesthetics Directly Inhibit Electron Mobility: Dipole Dispersion Theory of Anesthetic Action. Physiol. Chem. Phys., 1982, 14, 183–187.
Hameroff SR, Waterson CK, Calkins JM, Kanel JS. High frequency alternating lung ventilation. Anesthesiology, 1981; 54:237-239.
Hameroff SR, Carlson GC, Brown, Jr BR. Ilioinguinal pain syndrome. Pain, 1981; l0:253-257
Hameroff SR, Crago BR, Blitt CD, Womble J, Kanel JS. Comparison of bupivacaine, etidocaine, and saline for trigger-point therapy. Anesthesia and Analgesia, 1981; 60:752-755.
Blitt CD, Carlson GL, Rolling GD, Hameroff SR, Otto CW. A comparative evaluation of pretreatment with nondepolarizing neuromuscular blockers prior to the administration of succinylcholine. Anesthesiology. 1981 Dec;55(6):687-9.
Hameroff SR, Otto CW, Kanel J, Weinstein PR, Blitt CD. Acute cardiovascular effects of dimethylsulfoxide. Crit Care Med. 1981 Dec;9(12):855-7.
Bentley JV, Hameroff SR. Diffuse reflex sympathetic dystrophy. Anesthesiology, 1980; 53:256-257.
Stiffel P, Hameroff SR, Blitt CD and Cork R. Variability in assessment of neuromuscular blockade. Anesthesiology, 1980; 52:436-437.
Reynolds AF Jr, Hameroff SR, Blitt CD, Roberts WL, Spinal subdural epiarachnoid hematoma: a complication of a novel epidural blood patch technique. Anesth Analg. 1980 Sep;59(9):702-3.
Stiffel P, Hameroff SR. A modified technique for transtracheal anesthesia. Anesthesiology, 1979; 5l: 274-275.
Chvapil M, Hameroff SR, O’Dea K, Peacock EE. Local anesthetics and wound healing. Journal of Surgical Research, 1979; 27:367-71.



Newswise, September 5, 2017, Consciousness Depends on Tubulin Vibrations Inside Neurons, Anesthesia Study Suggests.
Anesthetic alterations of collective terahertz oscillations in tubulin correlate with clinical potency: Implications for anesthetic action and post-operative cognitive dysfunction. See: Craddock TJA, Kurian P, Preto J, Sahu K, Hameroff SR, Klobukowski M, Tuszynski JA. Scientific Reports.
Newswise – Anesthesia Points to Deeper Level ‘Quantum Channels’  March 23, 2015.
Discovery of Quantum Vibrations in ‘Microtubules’ Inside Brain Neurons Supports Controversial Theory of Consciousness, Earth Changes Media, Sept 23, 2014.
Sages & Scientists Symposium, August 22-24, 2014, Carlsbad, CA
Knock-out theory puts new spin on general anaesthesia, Chemistry World Review, Aug 12, 2014.
Electron Theft, Not Drug Effects, May Be How Anesthesia Knocks People Out, Scientific American, Aug 13, 2014.
Anesthesia’s Electric Effects? World Science Festival, Aug 11, 2014.  
Why Anesthesia Is One of the Greatest Medical Mysteries of Our Time, Daily Explainer/, June 19, 2014.
Anesthetics are fairly selective, erasing consciousness while sparing non-conscious brain activity,” Hameroff told io9.
“So the precise mechanism of anesthetic action should point to the mechanism for consciousness.” more
Discovery of Quantum Vibrations in ‘Microtubules’ Inside Brain Neurons Supports Controversial Theory of Consciousness, Science Daily, Jan 16, 2014.
Good Vibrations:’ Brain Ultrasound Improves Mood, Sci Daily, May 15, 2013.
Post Anesthesia Dementia, like Alzheimer’s, Looks Micro-‘Tubular’, Science Daily, June 27, 2012.
Scientists claim brain memory code cracked, Science Daily, March 9, 2012
Despite a century of research, memory encoding in the brain has remained mysterious. Neuronal synaptic connection strengths are involved, but synaptic components are short-lived while memories last … full story
Turning consciousness upside down: Magic mushrooms and the fractal brain hierarchy – Commentary on Carhart-Harris et al (2012) Neural correlates of the psychedelic…