General anaesthetic 'raises risk of dementia'
Elderly patients who have operations requiring a general anaesthetic may be at greater risk of developing dementia, researchers have warned.
A study of more than 9,000 adults with an average age of 75 found the risk of dementia was raised by a third in those who had received a general anaesthetic up to a decade earlier.
The research, carried out by the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research and the University of Bordeaux, found that one in five of the patients reported having had a general anaesthetic after two years.
Over the following eight years, almost one in 10 (9pc) of the entire group developed dementia.
Temporary difficulty with speaking and thinking is common following general anaesthetics.
Known as post-operative cognitive dysfunction (POCD), it is thought to be caused by inflammation of the nerve fibres in the brain. But it is not known whether POCD is associated with the later development of dementia.
The study will be released today.