General anesthesia raises dementia risk
General anesthesia has a significant impact on the body and new research from INSERM and the University of Bordeaux in France has found evidence that it could affect a person’s brain function, even years after the surgery. Specifically, the study contends that elderly patients who were given general anesthesia had an increased risk of developing dementia. The researchers found that some anesthetics may trigger inflammation of neural tissue, which leads to post-operative cognitive dysfunction, and that that could have a long-term impact.
This study looked at people over the age of 65 who were treated with anesthesia, examining data from a study that assessed dementia and cognitive decline linked to vascular risk factors. Seniors were interviewed at the start of the study, then two, four, seven and 10 years later, and were asked about history of anesthesia, among other questions. The researchers determined that 37 percent of those with dementia had received some form of anesthesia compared to 32 percent of others, and that 22 percent of dementia patients reported receiving general anesthesia versus 19 percent without dementia.
The scientists concluded that those who had had received general anesthesia at least once over an eight-year period had a 35 percent higher risk of developing dementia.