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Anesthetic Induces Alzheimer's-like Changes in Brains
Myriam
Posted: Monday, March 5, 2012 2:23 PM
Joined: 12/6/2011
Posts: 3326


From Alzheimer's Daily News:


(Source: Massachusetts General Hospital) - MGH researchers find desflurane may be safer anesthetic option for patients with Alzheimer's disease.

The association of the inhaled anesthetic isoflurane with Alzheimer's-disease-like changes in mammalian brains may by caused by the drug's effects on mitochondria, the structures in which most cellular energy is produced.

In a study Massachusetts General Hospital researchers report that administration of isoflurane impaired the performance of mice on a standard test of learning and memory - a result not seen when another anesthetic, desflurane, was administered. They also found evidence that the two drugs have significantly different effects on mitochondrial function.

"These are the first results indicating that isoflurane, but not desflurane, may induce neuronal cell death and impair learning and memory by damaging mitochondria," reported Yiying Zhang, MD. "This work needs to be confirmed in human studies, but it's looking like desflurane may be a better anesthetic to use for patients susceptible to cognitive dysfunction, such as Alzheimer's patients."

Previous studies have suggested that undergoing surgery and general anesthesia may increase the risk of Alzheimer's, and it is well known that a small but significant number of surgical patients experience a transient form of cognitive dysfunction in the postoperative period.

Go to full story: http://www.massgeneral.org