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Anesthesia After 40 Not Linked to Mild Cognitive Impairment

For adults, mild cognitive issues that may develop over time are unrelated, researchers say

anesthesia mask

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 20, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- Receiving general anesthesia for surgery after age 40 doesn't appear to raise the risk for mild cognitive impairment later in life, according to a study published online Jan. 20 in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings.

Mayo Clinic researchers followed 1,731 individuals in Minnesota, aged 70 to 89, who had normal cognitive function when the study began in 2004. About 85 percent of the participants had at least one surgery requiring general anesthesia after age 40. The study participants were evaluated every 15 months.

Of the participants, 31 percent developed mild cognitive impairment during the study period, but it was not associated with their anesthesia exposure, the researchers said.

"The bottom line of our study is that we did not find an association between exposure to anesthesia for surgery and the development of mild cognitive impairment in these patients," senior author and anesthesiologist David Warner, M.D., said in a Mayo news release.

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