Cognitive decline associated with surgery


Hospitalization (for surgical procedures or critical illness: severe infection, chemotherapy, trauma, heart failure, etc.) often is related to accelerated cognitive decline. Older age is associated with a more rapid decline after hospitalization. Post-surgical cognitive dysfunction is also associated with an increased risk of mortality.

The basis of this complication is unknown. Anesthesia may affect memory processes in different regions of the brain and surgery is also accompanied by systemic inflammation (inflammation that affects the body in general). This triggers impaired memory; it seems that the cognition deterioration observed after surgery may result from neuroinflammation.

Resolvin D1, a derivative of DHA, is a potent anti-inflammatory substance. Several experiments have shown that resolvins protect the brain from neuroinflammation, synaptic (synapse is the place at which a nervous impulse passes from one neuron to another) dysfunction and cognitive decline. In particular, preoperative treatment with AT-RvD1 (a resolvin D1) prevents disordered synaptic transmission and cognitive dysfunction associated with surgery.



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