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2015 Grants - Bratzke
The Effects of Surgery and Anesthesia on Cognitive Trajectory
Lisa Bratzke, Ph.D.
University of Wisconsin-Madison
2015 New Investigator Research Grant
Does surgery and anesthesia affect one’s risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease?
The risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease is higher in people who have one or more parents with the disease. This risk is even greater if they also have a certain variation of the APOE gene called APOE-e4. Recent evidence indicates that other factors may also promote Alzheimer’s risk, including whether or not someone has had surgery and undergone anesthesia. More research is needed to better understand the connection between surgery, anesthesia and brain function in Alzheimer’s disease.
Lisa Bratzke, Ph.D., and colleagues plan to study the effects of surgery and anesthesia on brain health. For this effort, they will utilize data from the Wisconsin Registry for Alzheimer’s Prevention (WRAP) study. WRAP’s large participant group contains cognitively normal people between the ages of 40 and 65 — some of whom have a family history of Alzheimer’s and others whom do not. These individuals are followed for many years and undergo cognitive testing to assess how their brain function may be changing over time and how such changes may lead to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr. Bratzke and colleagues plan to compare cognitive data from WRAP participants who have had surgery and anesthetic procedures with those who have not had such procedures. They hope to identify whether these procedures affect the participants’ risk for cognitive decline and dementia onset. In addition, they will determine if surgery and anesthesia have a synergistic effect in promoting dementia risk in people with a family history of Alzheimer’s or people who carry the APOE-e4 gene variation.
These studies can shed new light on the links between surgical procedures and cognitive health. In addition, these efforts may help in the design of interventions to preserve cognitive function in people undergoing surgery who are at risk for dementia.