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What are some connections between surgery and dementia?

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Published scientific literature suggests that elderly patients may develop dementia after undergoing a surgical procedure with anesthesia, states Medscape. These individuals have twice the risk for developing the condition than non-anesthetized patients.

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Anesthesia is generally administered to induce unconsciousness in patients during surgery. Although the safety of this drug is well-established, there is increasing evidence that anesthetic activities may result in neurodegenerative complications.

Imaging tests and in-vivo experiments indicate that inhaled anesthetic chemicals trigger elevated production of amyloid beta peptides, which can lead to neural damage. Although post-surgical mental impairment is generally considered to be transitory, which resolves within a short period of time, some documented cases show that this side effect can persist for weeks.

The cognitive decline observed in patients following surgery with anesthesia may later progress into dementia due to anesthetic-induced neural processes. However, supplemental clinical data is required to fully establish a link between surgery and dementia, notes Medscape.

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