Anesthesia Mechanisms

Group Leader

Harry Scheinin, MD, PhD

Adjunct Professor, Turku PET Centre, University of Turku and Turku University Hospital
Department of Perioperative Services, Intensive Care and Pain Medicine, Turku University Hospital

Personal Page

Group Website


Human consciousness is one of the greatest challenges of science. We try to explore the neural correlates of consciousness by integrating subjective phenomenology with objective measurements of brain activity using modern imaging methods and electrophysiological recordings. We aim to separate consciousness from responsiveness, connectedness from disconnection and to compare the disconnected state during physiological sleep with that induced by anesthetic agents. Finding new tools for discriminating subtle changes in the state of consciousness would be groundbreaking and could represent a major leap forward in understanding the neurobiology of human consciousness. The results could also help in developing new methods to objectively measure consciousness and the depth of general anesthesia.  The project is a joint effort with the Consciousness Research Group of University of Turku led by Professor Antti Revonsuo.


Group Members

Senior Researchers:

  • Kaike Kaisti
  • Kimmo Kaskinoro
  • Ruut Laitio
  • Timo Laitio
  • Jaakko Långsjö
  • Anu Maksimow
  • Annalotta Scheinin
  • Harry Scheinin

Doctoral Students:

  • Oskari Kantonen
  • Lauri Laaksonen
  • Aleksi Nummela
  • Linda Radek


Collaborators & Partners

  • Michael Alkire, University of California, Irvine, USA
  • George Mashour, University of Michigan, USA
  • Lauri Nummenmaa, University of Turku, Turku, Finland
  • Antti Revonsuo, University of Turku, Turku, Finland and University of Skövde, Skövde, Sweden
  • Robert Sanders, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
  • Mika Scheinin, University of Turku, Turku, Finland


Main Funding

  • Academy of Finland, Finland
  • Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation, Finland


Selected Publications

  1. Noreika V, Jylhänkangas L, Móró L, Valli K, Kaskinoro K, Aantaa R, Scheinin H, Revonsuo A. Consciousness lost and found: Subjective experiences in an unresponsive state. Brain Cogn 2011;77:327-334.
  2. Långsjö JW, Alkire MT, Kaskinoro K, Hayama H, Maksimow A, Kaisti KK, Aalto S, Aantaa R, Jääskeläinen SK, Revonsuo A, Scheinin H. Returning from oblivion: imaging the neural core of consciousness; J Neurosci 2012;32:4935-4943.
  3. Långsjö JW, Revonsuo A, Scheinin H. Harnessing anesthesia and brain imaging for the study of human consciousness. Curr Pharm Des 2014;20:4211-4224.
  4. Laaksonen L,  Kallioinen M, Långsjö J, Laitio T, Scheinin A, Scheinin J, Kaisti K, Maksimow A, Kallionpää RE, Rajala V, Johansson J, Kantonen O, Nyman M, Sirén S, Valli K, Revonsuo A, Solin O, Vahlberg T, Alkire M, Scheinin H. Comparative effects of dexmedetomidine, propofol, sevoflurane and S-ketamine on regional cerebral glucose metabolism in humans: a positron emission tomography study. Br J Anaest 2018;121:281-290.
  5. Radek L, Kallionpää RE, Karvonen M, Scheinin A, Maksimow, Långsjö, Kaisti K, Vahlberg T, Revonsuo A, Scheinin H, Valli K. Dreaming and awareness during dexmedetomidine- and propofol-induced unresponsiveness. Br J Anaest 2018;121:260-269.
  6. Kallionpää RE, Scheinin A, Kallionpää RA, Sandman N, Kallioinen M, Laitio R, Laitio T, Kaskinoro K, Kuusela T, Revonsuo A, Scheinin H, Vall K. Spoken words are processed during dexmedetomidine-induced unresponsiveness. Br J Anaesth 2018;121:270-280.
  7. Scheinin A, Kallionpää RE, Li D, Kallioinen M, Kaisti K, Långsjö J, Maksimow A, Vahlberg T, Valli K, Mashour GA, Revonsuo A, Scheinin H. Differentiating drug-related and state-related effects of dexmedetomidine and propofol on the electroencephalogram. Anesthesiology 2018;129:22-36.
  8. Scheinin H, Alkire EC, Scheinin A, Alkire MT, Kantonen O, Långsjö J. Using positron emission tomography in revealing the mystery of general anesthesia: Study design challenges and opportunities, Methods Enzymol 2018;603:279-303.
  9. Kallionpää RE, Valli K, Scheinin A, Långsjö J, Maksimow A, Vahlberg T, Revonsuo A, Scheinin H, Mashour GA, Li D. Alpha band frontal connectivity is a state-specific electroencephalographic correlate of unresponsiveness during exposure to dexmedetomidine and propofol. Br J Anaesth 2020;125:518-528.
  10. Scheinin A, Kantonen O, Alkire M, Långsjö J, Kallionpää RE, Kaisti K, Radek L, Johansson J, Sandman N, Nyman M, Scheinin M, Vahlberg T, Revonsuo A, Valli K, Scheinin H. Foundations of human consciousness: Imaging the twilight zone. J Neurosci 2021;41:1769-1778.