In a recent article in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, two Spanish researchers, Mena and Yebenese, found that a commonly used anaesthetic, Isoflurane, is safe for normal mice, but unsafe for mice that carry genetic mutations for Alzheimer's disease, even if those mice are asymptomatic.
The researchers said, "The results show alterations produced in the brains of mice with mutations very similar to those observed in patients that have already developed Alzheimer's disease."
The researchers postulate that the use of Isoflurane as an anaesthetic may be one possible mechanism of developing Alzheimer's disease. Indeed, many studies have shown that surgery, with its accompanying anaesthesia, increases the odds of Alzheimer's disease. The mice with the AD markers also needed increased recovery time after the use of Isoflurane.
Drs. Mena and Yebenese suggest testing patients for genetic markers for AD, prior to the use of Isoflurane as an anaesthetic.
The study showed that repetitive use of Isoflurane caused "persistant disorders affecting behavior" in the mice with AD genetic markers. "Neuronal death increased in brain areas critical of cognition."
Isoflurane is an inhaled anaesthetic. Studies have shown that IV anaesthetics are much safer for Alzheimer's patients and those with genetic predisposition to Alzheimer's.
Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude Finkelstein, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER , a 501(c.)3 charitable organization. PUZZLES TO REMEMBER is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and other institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.