Thursday, January 3, 2008

Elective surgery and cognitive changes

Elective surgeries, like joint replacements, are becoming relative common – especially among people over the age of 60 years. The damage and pain from osteoarthritis is one of the major reasons people need this type of surgery. And, this will continue to rise as the baby boomers join those ranks in larger numbers over the coming years.

So, it’s a bit disturbing to read of studies such as Older surgical patients at greater risk for developing cognitive problems. Cognitive changes in patients following surgery isn’t unusual, no matter what the age, but for the most part, younger patients return to their previous level of function within three months. However, according to this study, many over 60 don’t.

Although these surgeries are called elective, there really should be – in my opinion – a third category of surgeries: essential, elective, and elective but necessary. Although joint replacements are elective, people who need them and don’t get them can have a severely reduced quality of life, reduced mobility, social isolation, and increased risk of developing other disorders, including depression.

Now that the researchers are more aware of the issue, hopefully they will come up with some answers.

News for Today:

Older surgical patients at greater risk for developing cognitive problems
Shorter HCV treatment shows notable success
The risk of osteoarthritis and index to ring finger length ratio
The prevalence and impact of arthritis and other rheumatic conditions in the United States
Students want screening of blood donors changed

Testosterone doesn't boost cognitive function in older men, research suggests

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