I wanted to add this blog because I just stumbled on some interesting research that indicates that going under anesthesia may increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease in some people. The study has found that anesthesia may increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease in patients with a genetic predisposition.
Alzheimer’s represents one of the biggest problems in mental health and the American Alzheimer’s Association estimates that the number of Californians with Alzheimer’s disease will nearly double to 1.1 million by 2030.
A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease reported that anesthesia can be safe for normal mice but potentially harmful for mice with genetic risk factors for Alzheimer’s. The use of repetitive anesthesia with isoflurane (one of the most common anesthetics by inhalation in hospitals) increased the risk of developing changes similar to those observed in Alzheimer’s brains in mice with mutations of the amyloid precursor protein (APP).
APP is considered a predicting factor in the genetic predisposition for Alzheimer’s. The findings suggest a possible mechanism of developing Alzheimer’s. Some epidemiological studies have shown an increased prevalence of Alzheimer’s in patients undergoing anesthesia and surgery.
This has lead researchers to suggest that prior to surgery requiring anesthesia, it may be good to know the genetic background of the patients so that the drugs used and the pattern of anesthesia may be personalized accordingly. A customized clinical model that would enable the reduction of the patient’s potential risk for AD would reduce the risk of anesthesia.
If the use of anesthesia is a concern to you, I recommend talking with your doctor. There are things that can be done to reduce the negative effects of anesthesia – before, during, and after the procedure.