Does general anesthesia increase the risk of dementia?

There is concern that exposure to general anesthesia during surgery may contribute to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. To investigate, the researchers compared exposure to general anesthesia versus regional anesthesia during elective surgery, looking for potential links with the development of dementia.

The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society The study included 7,499 matched pairs of community-resident individuals aged 66 and over who underwent surgery between 2007 and 2011 and were followed for up to 5 years.

The researchers found no difference in the risk of being diagnosed with dementia for individuals who received general anesthesia versus those who received regional anesthesia.

“Many seniors experience changes in their cognition immediately after surgery and wonder what role the type of anesthetic might have played in these changes,” said Dallas P. Seitz, MD, PhD, FRCPC, senior author. University of Calgary, Canada. “Our study provides evidence that the anesthetic technique used during elective surgery, general anesthesia or regional anesthesia is not associated with a long-term risk of developing dementia.”

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