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Study shows general anesthesia increases dementia risk for elderly

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General anaesthesia for the elderly boosts the risks of dementia by more than a third, according to a study by French doctors released on Friday.

Researchers led by Francois Sztark at the University of Bordeaux in southwestern France analysed data from a long-term study into cognitive decline covering 9,300 elderly people in three French cities.

The volunteers — average age 75 — were interviewed when they were recruited into the study and then two, four, seven and 10 years afterwards.

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The data showed a link between the onset of dementia and a general anaesthetic that had been administered two or three years before.

Those who had received general anaesthesia were 35 percent likelier to develop dementia symptoms by the next follow-up interview compared with counterparts who had not had general anaesthetic.

Previous work has already highlighted a condition called post-operative cognitive dysfunction, or POCD, in which an elderly patient who undergoes major surgery also goes into mental decline relatively soon afterward.

The reasons for this, though, are unclear. Some experiments suggest that various anaesthetics inflame neural tissues, causing protein plaques and tangles to develop that are precursors of Alzheimer’s disease.

The research was released at a congress in Barcelona, Spain, of the European Society of Anaesthesiology.

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“These results are in favour of an increased risk for dementia several years after general anaesthesia,” Sztark said in a press release, adding that patients who underwent major surgery needed long-term support.

[Image: “Senior Woman Lying At Bed” via Shutterstock]


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‘How many more nurses have to die?’: Coalition of nursing unions demand life-saving supplies and equipment in battle with coronavirus

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"We now bear the full brunt of a healthcare system rendered dysfunctional after years of relentless funding cuts for public health, while generating obscene profits for corporate interests."

A coalition of nurses' unions on Monday demanded their members be protected in the fight against the coronavirus outbreak threatening to overwhelm the U.S. healthcare system, describing a dysfunctional approach to the pandemic that is putting frontline healthcare workers' lives in danger.

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Wells Fargo has already hit stimulus cap as small businesses worry loans are running out: report

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On Monday, the Washington Post reported that Wells Fargo, one of the nation's largest banks, is already cutting off new applications for the government's small-business stimulus relief program.

"Wells Fargo didn’t begin taking applications until Saturday and by Monday morning said it reached the $10 billion cap it had set for loans under the program," wrote Renae Merle. "Small businesses, which employ nearly half of the United States’ private-sector workers, say they are facing long waits and rejection as they scramble to secure loans through the fund, known as the Paycheck Protection Program. Many banks are accepting applications only from existing customers or businesses of a certain size."

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Dominic Raab: Boris Johnson’s de facto deputy

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When Boris Johnson announced he had tested positive for coronavirus, Downing Street said Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab would deputise if the British prime minister was incapacitated.

Few expected him to do so, as Johnson and his office repeatedly maintained the prime minister's symptoms were mild.

But after Johnson was taken to hospital on Sunday night, and transferred to intensive care just 24 hours later, Raab now looks set to be in charge for the foreseeable future.

Raab was one of the most prominent figures in Britain's protracted and divisive process to leave the European Union, serving as Brexit minister under former premier Theresa May.

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