|Waking up demented: New ideas about
anesthesia-induced cognitive impairment
In an intriguing paper just published in Anesthesiology, Eckenhoff et al.
seek an explanation for the commonly observed transitory, and sometimes
persistent, cognitive impairment that is observed following surgeries involving
the use of inhaled anesthetics. This observation, along with results of a
number of studies suggesting, but not proving, a link between surgery and
increased risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease in the elderly, led Eckenhoff
et al. to study whether inhaled anesthetics might have direct effects
on amyloid-β protein (Aβ) self-assembly. To do so, the authors used a combination
of biophysical methods to study peptide assembly. These methods
included turbidity measurements, filtration, electron microscopy, Thioflavin
T (ThT) binding, and size exclusion chromatography. In addition, lactate
dehydrogenase (LDH) assays were done on PC12 cells to assess peptide-mediated
cytotoxicity. The basic experimental design used groups including
anesthetic alone, peptide alone, and...