Anesthesia Not Linked to Alzheimer’s Disease

When undergoing surgery, some patients may need to be put under anesthesia which can be scary to some. Patients may have general concerns with going under anesthesia and may also wonder if there are any long term effects. As for older patients (ages 70 and up) that need to be put under, some are concerned there may be a link between anesthesia and Alzheimer’s Disease. When a person has Alzheimer’s Disease, the outer layer of the cerebrum (Cortical), begins to thin which causes memory loss. The older we get, for some individuals memory begins to deteriorate quicker than others. A new study has shown that Anesthesia not linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

According to the British Journal of Anesthesia, there is no link between the surgery with anesthesia and suffering from Alzheimer’s. Juraj Sprung, M.D., Ph.D., from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and colleagues assessed brain amyloid-β (Aβ) burden among older patients (aged 70 to 97 years) who underwent surgery with general anesthesia either after age 40 or within 20 years of neuroimaging. The results suggest that there was an association noted between exposure to surgery/general anesthesia and an increased likelihood of abnormal cortical thinning in those exposed after age 40 years and among those exposed in the prior 20 years. “This finding suggests that the modest cortical thinning associated with surgery/general anesthesia is not related to Alzheimer disease pathology, but rather is caused by other processes,” the authors write.

Other exposure and processes have higher risk of Alzheimer’s such as environment, lifestyle and genetics. More common side effects you may experience after receiving anesthesia can include nausea, vomiting, dry mouth, sore throat, muscle aches, itching, shivering, sleepiness. The likelihood of any Alzheimer’s spiking in an individual is not likely but can increase the process if the patient is genetically septiable to this disease. 

In conclusion, the study shows anesthesia alone is not directly linked to the chances of getting Alzheimer’s Disease. Usually there are no side effects when under anesthesia, but depending on the individual age and prior lifestyle, some may suffer from different side effects.