Posted on Jun 04, 2013, 6 a.m.
Having general anesthesia after the age of 45 does not increase the risk of developing dementia later on in life, say researchers from the Mayo Clinic.
It is known that some elderly patients have problems with cognitive function for weeks, and sometimes months, following surgical procedures that require general anesthesia. Furthermore, there has been concern that exposure to general anesthesia may be associated with long-term cognitive changes including dementia. However, results of a study using data from thousands of patients has revealed that receiving general anesthesia after age 45 is not a risk factor for developing dementia later on in life. "It's reassuring we're adding to the body of knowledge that there is not an association of anesthesia and surgery with Alzheimer's," said senior author Dr David Warner a pediatric anesthesiologist at the Mayo Clinic Children's Center. "There are a lot of things to worry about when an elderly person has surgery, but it seems that developing Alzheimer's isn't one of them."
Andrea L Aguilar, Kayla J Runkle, Amanda K Tucker, Kathryn C McLaren, Darrell R Schroede, Andrew C Hanson, David S Knopman, Carmelina Gurrieri, David O Warner. Anesthesia and incident dementia: A population-based, nested, case-control study. Mayo Clin Proc. 2013 Apr 29. [Epub ahead of print]