Anaesthetics and Alzheimers link ?


Registered User
May 24, 2006
I read some research today that they think 2 common anaesthetic gases/medications may be a cause of Alzheimers

Does this make sense to members here the people you care for have a history of several opearations and anaesthetics

Tender Face

Account Closed
Mar 14, 2006
NW England
In a world where nothing makes sense .....

Fascinating question, Helena. I know I have been concerned about what I have read on TP alone about the effect of anaesthesia on a diagnosed patient when surgery becomes essential let alone selective .... and on a personal level, have wondered if the major operations and associated general anaesthetics my mother has encountered - particularly over the last 20 or so years - but actually with an almost 'chronic' history of surgery since her twenties .... has had a resultant effect.
I can't help but think repeated 'shutdown' by artificial means naturally has to be of concern.

To think life saving operations have been performed to reduce her life to this?????? But could it be suggested, if any link to the anaesthesia were proven that those life saving operations were NOT performed??????

Are there alternatives to producing the temporary state of loss of consiousness and sensitivity that surgery requires?
Are we just talking specific anaesthetics here?

Fascinated to know more of this research .... any links?

Love, Karen, x

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
One day there will be research somewhere that tells us it`s dangerous to breathe in fresh air.:rolleyes:


Registered User
Feb 17, 2006
dangerous to breathe in fresh air
been done already lol

air pollution , traffic Ozone is a colorless gas which is the main ingredient of smog. Ground level ozone is a severe public health concern. It damages lung tissue, aggravates respiratory conditions and makes people more susceptible to respiratory infections. Children are especially vulnerable to ozone's harmful effects.

Fascinated to know more of this research .... any links?
I can't find any links on it
Last edited:

Canadian Joanne

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 8, 2005
Toronto, Canada
My mother only had 2 surgeries in her life and yet is considered an early onset AD as she was diagnosed at the age of 64.

Certainly, general anaesthesia is considered to deepen confusion in AD patients. I have also heard anecdotal stories of general anaesthesia bringing on AD in elderly patients but in a sort of "it was developing anyways" sort of thing and the anaesthesia simply hastened the process.

It may well turn out that certain people have a genetic disposition that combined with anaesthesia will contribute to their developing AD.

The opposite side of the coin is that if we choose not to have various surgeries, we could die much younger. That would certainly take care of things, wouldn't it?:D . The old "6 of one, half dozen of the other".

Helena, did they mention the gases/meds by name? Where did you read this?


Registered User
Mar 6, 2007
Wigan, Lancs
Yes we've wondered about this too. My Dad had 4 or 5 operations in pretty quick succession for kidney stones, gall stones, slipped disc in the years before he developed AD. I have heard suggested before that there may be a link, but only anecdotal.

As Joanne says what is the alternative? I have known of older people having hip replacements under an epidural but presume that this is not appropriate for operations above the waist?

Grannie G

Volunteer Moderator
Apr 3, 2006
My mother never had surgery in her life, my husband has had surgery once, I have had surgery 4 times, in addition to general anaesthesia 8 times for breast abscesses following the birth of my son. And of course there is always general anaesthesia for dental treatment.............


Registered User
Aug 9, 2007
My mother has vascular dementia and had as far as I am aware only 2GA's prior to its diagnosis.

However after diagnosis she had a duodenal ulcer that started to bleed and required emergency surgery (luckily for her she was already in hospital as she had had a severe UTI!)

Although she had, before surgery, good periods of lucidity and lived independently (albeit that the family felt that she did require more home care) after the surgery she had substantially fewer periods of lucidity and was assessed as needing nursing home care.

On speaking to the geriatrician I was advised that a common cause of dementia worsening was anaesthetic. I cannot give any stucdies but as this was the consultant at the time and my mother's behaviour mirrored this I would have to beleieve it.

Whether it causes it I cannot say..but ti does exacerbate it in my experience and the experience of those nurses now caring for my Mum.


Registered User
Jul 7, 2007

Think our Mum has mixed AD & Vascular

In our experience it was "hospitilisation" and illness that made things worse. Initial period was about 4 years ago - went in after a fall caused by dizziness and came out very very confused and incontinent.
More recently went in with a UTI and again came out more confused etc
(even when infection had cleared)

Perhaps its just any severe illness in the AD elderly ? Our Mum hasn't had any kind of anaesthetic for years - perhaps their systems just can't cope with the pressure of other illness on top of the brain being affected by AD ?

BUT another problem is getting the hospitals to continue with her Reminyl when she's in - the fuss we have had because the Reminyl comes from the Memory Consultant and not from the GP - you wouldn't believe. Don't know if periods without the drugs can worsen things but seems a co-incidence too far.



Registered User
Jul 10, 2006
south lanarkshire

My Dad has never had an anesthetic, except when he had his teeth extracted approx 50 years ago.
Mum has only ever had one OP. maybe about 40 years ago and that was only minor.

So, there is no evidence of anesthetics, at least not in the case of my parents, being the cause of dementia, but who knows?


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