Is there a link between anesthesia and dementia?

Some people, especially elderly folks, can have problems with their thinking following surgery. These cognition problems can last for weeks -- even months -- after the operation.

"And the concern is that there is something about anesthesia or surgery that may be contributing to these problems in thinking," said Dr. David Warner, a pediatric anesthesiologist at the Mayo Clinic Children's Center.

Dr. Warner was part of a team of researchers who investigated this question and published a paper about it last year. They studied the records of two groups of patients - those with dementia and those without. It turns out that about 70 percent of the people in each group had a surgical procedure that required general anesthesia.

So, the researchers were able to gather enough data to come to this conclusion.

"There are a lot of things to be concerned about, but it doesn't look like you have to be concerned that just having a surgical procedure will necessarily put you at risk for developing dementia or Alzheimer's disease later in your life," he said.

More Info:
No Link Between Anesthesia, Dementia in Elderly, Mayo Clinic Study Finds