The hidden long-term risks of surgery: ‘It gives people’s brains a hard time’

Operations can have cognitive side-effects, particularly in the over-65s but also in the very young. How can science minimise the danger?In 2004, Mario Cibelli was preparing a 75-year-old patient for a big cardiac operation when the patient ’s daughter asked for a quick word. “She explained to me how worried she was about the surgery,” says Cibelli, a consultant in anaesthesia and intensive care at the University Hospitals Birmingham. “I said: ‘Look, everybody’s worried about heart surgery, it comes with risks, but normally people benefit from it.’ And then she told me that her father had undergone a cardiac procedure two years before and he had changed dramatically.”Cibelli listened as the woman described how her father, a former physics professor, had shown signs of significant cognitive decline after the initial operation. Once a keen chess player, he was now unable to play the game and struggled to even do basic crosswords.Continue reading...
Source: Guardian Unlimited Science - Category: Science Authors: Tags: Neuroscience Medical research Older people Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder Hospitals Health Society NHS Biotechnology industry Source Type: news