Anesthesia, consciousness and hydrophobic pockets - A unitary quantum hypothesis of anesthetic action

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

33 Scopus citations


1. A consensus view holds that anesthetics act by van der Waals forces in hydrophobic pockets of select brain proteins to ablate consciousness. 2. What is consciousness? Enigmatic features of consciousness (e.g. 'qualia', binding, non-computability, pre-conscious→conscious transition, nondeterministic free will) may be explained by the occurrence of quantum coherent states in the brain. 3. Van der Waals electron pair couplings (London forces) in hydrophobic pockets in non-anesthetic (conscious) conditions are a particular type of quantum capable of supporting macroscopic quantum coherence. 4. The mechanism of anesthetics may be to inhibit electron mobility and London forces necessary for quantum states and consciousness in hydrophobic pockets of select brain proteins. Copyright (C) 1998 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-39
Number of pages9
JournalToxicology letters
StatePublished - Nov 23 1998



  • Anesthetic mechanism
  • Consciousness
  • Protein conformation
  • Quantum computation
  • Quantum theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology

Cite this