Electroanesthesia Abstracts 1


Electroanaesthesia--from torpedo fish to TENS.
            (Francis and Dingley, 2015) Download
In 153 AD, the Roman physician Scribonius Largus identified that electric current had analgesic properties, instructing patients to stand on an electric ray for the treatment of gout. In 2014, transcranial magnetic stimulation was approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence for the treatment of migraine. Although separated by nearly two millennia, these milestones represent the evolution of the utilisation of electric current in medical and anaesthetic practice. Significant advances have been made over the last century in particular, and during the 1960s and 1970s, tens of thousands of patients were reportedly anaesthetised for surgical interventions using electric current as the anaesthetic agent. Many medical interventions, including transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation and deep brain stimulation, have evolved in the aftermath of investigations into electroanaesthesia; the potential for electric current to be an anaesthetic agent of the future still exists.

The purpose of the Parthian Galvanic cells: a first-century A.D. electric battery used for analgesia.
            (Keyser, 1993) Download
The Parthian galvanic cells (electric batteries) have been known for some fifty years but have never been scientifically published, have heretofore seemed embarassingly out of context, and have received little scientific treatment since their first publication. I have examined the find and some similar, probably parallel, finds and have considered how the device might have been invented and what the electrolyte might have been.

The elusive search for electroanesthesia.
            (Senior, 1984) Download
A review of the search for a safe, effective, and inexpensive means of electrical anesthesia.


Joseph Snape and electroanaesthesia.
            (Zuck, 2015) Download
In their admirable paper on the his- tory of electroanaesthesia, the authors describe its local use in dentistry around 1950 as ‘very early’. In fact, Joseph Snape, a dentist on the staff of the Liverpool Royal Infirmary, published a monograph on this subject in 1858. He described his apparatus and technique and claimed much success, quoting testimonials from many satisfied patients.



Francis, J and J Dingley (2015), ‘Electroanaesthesia--from torpedo fish to TENS.’, Anaesthesia, 70 (1), 93-103. PubMed: 25348076
Keyser, PT (1993), ‘The purpose of the Parthian Galvanic cells: a first-century A.D. electric battery used for analgesia.’, J Near East Stud, 52 (2), 81-98. PubMed: 16468202
Senior, JE (1984), ‘The elusive search for electroanesthesia.’, Med Instrum, 18 (1), 86-87. PubMed: 6369091
Zuck, D (2015), ‘Joseph Snape and electroanaesthesia.’, Anaesthesia, 70 (4), 509-10. PubMed: 25764417