I think this finding is significant, and I am certain researchers will continue to look into the link between heart surgery and Alzheimer's disease.
The Journal of Alzheimer's Disease reports that researchers have discovered that patients who have either coronary artery bypass graft surgery or coronary angioplasty are at an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. They say that the findings pinpoint stress and trauma of surgery as the major cause for the increased risk.
"The coronary bypass patients had a 70 percent increased risk of developing Alzheimer's disease," the scientists say. They say early cognitive impairment is an immediate reaction to the stress of surgery.
Researchers believe this early cognitive impairment is an immediate reaction to the stress of surgery. "Heart bypass surgery represents a traumatic insult to the brain, particularly by reducing oxygen supply to the brain and increasing the stress response," the scientists say.
"We believe that the compensation that occurs by one year masks an underlying deficit in the central nervous system caused by the heart surgery," says Boston University School of Medicine's Benjamin Wolozin. "As individuals age, this underlying deficit might exacerbate progressive cognitive deficits associated with mild cognitive impairment, a precursory phase before diagnosis of Alzheimer's."
Go to Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease or Eurekalert for more information.