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Alzheimer's Disease

Anesthesia and its Effects on Dementia

06/09/2004

Question:

Can anesthesia from surgery cause dementia in an elderly person? How might anesthetics affect the brain cells of an elderly person?

Answer:

Anesthetics from surgery can impair brain function for several days, especially in older persons. Also, surgery itself is stressful and causes pain and fear, which can impair function. Evaluation by a neurologist may be indicated.

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Response by:

Robert P Friedland, MD Robert P Friedland, MD
Formerly, Professor of Neurology
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University