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Surgery and Anesthesia on Brain Pathology and Cognition
Posted: Friday, September 14, 2012 2:54 PM
Joined: 12/6/2011
Posts: 3326

From Alzheimer's Daily News:

(Source: Medical Xpress) - A syndrome called "post-operative cognitive decline" has been coined to refer to the commonly reported loss of cognitive abilities, usually in older adults, in the days to weeks after surgery. In fact, some patients time the onset of their Alzheimer's disease symptoms from a surgical procedure. Exactly how the trio of anesthesia, surgery, and dementia interact is clinically inconclusive, yet of great concern to patients, their families and physicians.

A year ago, researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania reported that Alzheimer's pathology, as reflected by cerebral spinal fluid biomarkers, might be increased in patients after surgery and anesthesia. However, it is not clear whether the anesthetic drugs or the surgical procedure itself was responsible.


To separate these possibilities, the group turned to a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. The results show that surgery itself, rather than anesthesia, has the more profound impact on a dementia-vulnerable brain.


"In the mice, there was a clear and persistent decrement in learning and memory caused by surgery as compared with inhalational anesthesia - but only in the context of a brain made vulnerable by human Alzheimer's-associated transgenes," noted Roderic Eckenhoff, MD.


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