Commonly used anaesthetic drug isofluorane – agent for general anaesthesia – may cause chemical changes in the brain that promote Alzheimer’s disease, reported by researchers in a study.
Zhongcong Xie of the Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease at Massachusetts General Hospital in Charlestown and his team are planning studies in mice as well as monitoring people to see whether anaesthetics do indeed raise the risk of Alzheimer’s.
Xie and his colleagues treated cultured human neural cells with isofluorane, and found that the cells produced more of a protein called amyloid. In the brain, this protein accumulates and forms tangles that are linked to Alzheimer’s.
The researchers report their results in the Journal of Neuroscience.
Alzheimer disease is a neurological disorder characterized by slow, progressive memory loss due to a gradual loss of brain cells. Alzheimer disease significantly affects cognitive (thought) capabilities and, eventually, affected individuals become incapacitated. Alzheimer-related issues can cause emotional and financial upheaval for both the individuals with the disease and their families. Alzheimer disease is the most common form of dementia (loss of intellectual function) and, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), it is the fourth leading cause of death in adults.