Turkish Journal of Medical Sciences




Alzheimer disease (AD) is one of the most common neurodegenerative diseases and the most prevalent form of dementia. Some factors in the development of AD, age being the best-known one, have been suggested; however, no causes have been found yet. The pathophysiology of the disease is highly complex, current therapies are palliative, and a cure is still lacking. Adverse effects of anesthetics in the elderly have been reported since the 1950s; however, awareness of this old problem has recently gained importance again. Whether exposure to surgery and general anesthesia (GA) is associated with the development of AD has been questioned. As the population is aging, many elderly patients will need to be anesthetized, and maybe some were already anesthetized before they were diagnosed. Exposure to anesthetics has been demonstrated to promote pathogenesis of AD in both in vitro and in vivo studies. However, to date, there have not been any clinical trials to address a link between exposure to GA and the development of AD in humans. Therefore, before making any conclusions we need further studies, but we should be aware of the potential risks and take cautions with vulnerable elderly patients.


Alzheimer disease, anesthesia, postoperative cognitive dysfunction

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