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In order to review the current status of the potential relationship between anesthesia and Alzheimer’s disease, a group of scientists recently met in Philadelphia for a full day of presentations and discussions. This special article represents a consensus view on the possible link between Alzheimer’s disease and anesthesia and the steps required to test this more definitively.
There is growing interest in the potential relationship between anesthesia and the onset and progression of neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease. In an initial attempt to address and coordinate the available evidence and hypotheses, a small group of physicians and scientists was convened in May, 2008 at the University of Pennsylvania, for a full day of discussion. Out of these discussions, the following points were distilled:
In summary, there is sufficient evidence at multiple levels to warrant further and more definitive investigations of the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease and neurodegeneration after anesthesia and surgery. These studies should exploit all appropriate models but emphasize humans whenever possible. Anesthesiologists, working in collaboration with neuroscientists, epidemiologists, and others with relevant expertise, should lead this effort.