What Can Population Data Tell Us About Anesthesia and Cognition in the (Vulnerable) Older Patient?

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It is well known that the first public demonstration of anesthesia was administered in Boston in 1846. Within 50 years, anecdotal reports began to emerge suggesting certain individuals experienced delirium, some of which may progress to more severe outcomes, including dementia.1 Anesthesia and surgery are concurrent events; nonetheless, as a result of the dramatic pharmacologic effects of anesthetic agents, blame for adverse cognitive outcomes was unsurprisingly weighted entirely toward the anesthesia. In 1955, a retrospective clinical study reported patients “not being the same” after their operation.
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