Anesthesia or hypothermia: Warning for Alzheimer's patients

Mar 11, 2009

Everyone knows that its important to keep a cool head, but a new study published online in The FASEB Journal shows that for Alzheimer's patients, a cool head may make the disease worse. In the research report, scientists show that a protein associated with Alzheimer's (called "tau") builds up in brain cells at an increased rate when temperatures fall, such as when a patient is anesthetized or experiences hypothermia. This finding should be of immediate concern to surgeons, dentists, and any other health care professionals who anesthetize patients with Alzheimer's or patients at an elevated risk for the disease.

"We hope that this research will initiate an interest in taking precautions to limit the impact of on the disease," said Emmanuel Planel of Columbia University Medical Center and one of the scientists involved in the work.

To make this discovery, the scientists used two groups of mice that make the abnormal tau protein that accumulates in Alzheimer's . One group was anesthetized, and one group was not. A week after anesthesia, the two groups were compared for the amount of tau protein in their . The anesthetized group had more of these clumps than the group that was not anesthetized. Furthermore, in mice showing advanced signs of the disease, the build up of tau proteins occurred faster than in those in the early stages.

"Every patient wants a surgeon with a ," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The , "but surgeons might not want the same for their patients. People are anesthetized for all kinds of reasons, even dental work, but this study really should make patients and doctors reconsider whether it's really necessary."

More information: Emmanuel Planel, Alexis Bretteville, Li Liu, Laszlo Virag, Angela L. Du, Wai Haung Yu, Dennis W. Dickson, Robert A. Whittington, and Karen E. Duff. Acceleration and persistence of neurofibrillary pathology in a mouse model of tauopathy following anesthesia FASEB J. doi:10.1096/fj.08-122424. www.fasebj.org/cgi/content/abstract/fj.08-122424v1

Source: Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology

Explore further: Ebola scare boosts business for US company

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Can mental training games help prevent Alzheimer's?

Mar 10, 2009

Loss of thinking power is a fear shared by many aging baby boomers. That fear has resulted in a budding industry for brain training products - exercises such as Brain Age, Mindfit and My Brain Trainer - which in 2007 generated ...

AT&T to put 8,000 natural-gas vehicles on road

Mar 11, 2009

(AP) -- AT&T Inc. said Wednesday it will spend up to $350 million over five years to buy more than 8,000 Ford Motor Co. vans and trucks, then convert them to run on compressed natural gas.

Small molecules block cancer gene

Mar 10, 2009

Finding molecules that block the activity of the oncogene Stat 3 (signal transducer and activator of transcription) required screening literally millions of compounds, using computers that compared the structure of the cancer-causing ...

Wal-Mart to enter medical records digitization market

Mar 11, 2009

US retail titan Wal-Mart is poised to enter the medical data market with the launch of a package that would help small doctor's practices to digitize their medical records, a spokeswoman said Wednesday.

US struggles to pinpoint cyber attacks: Top official

Mar 10, 2009

The United States often cannot quickly or reliably trace a cyber attack back to its source, even as rival nations and extremists may be looking to wage virtual war, a top official warned Tuesday.

Recommended for you

Ebola scare boosts business for US company

5 hours ago

The Ebola scare has subsided in the United States, at least temporarily, but an Alabama manufacturer is still trying to catch up with a glut of orders for gear to protect against the disease.

Thai parliament votes to ban commercial surrogacy (Update)

13 hours ago

Thailand's parliament has voted to ban commercial surrogacy after outrage erupted over the unregulated industry following a series scandals including the case of an Australian couple accused of abandoning a baby with Down's ...

Doctor behind 'free radical' aging theory dies

Nov 25, 2014

Dr. Denham Harman, a renowned scientist who developed the most widely accepted theory on aging that's now used to study cancer, Alzheimer's disease and other illnesses, has died in Nebraska at age 98.

Mexican boy who had massive tumor recovering

Nov 25, 2014

An 11-year-old Mexican boy who had pieces of a massive tumor removed and who drew international attention after U.S. officials helped him get treatment in the southwestern U.S. state of New Mexico is still recovering after ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.