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Concerns for toxic effects of anesthesia to the brains of the young and the elderly are mounting. While experimental evidence for such effects in the developing brain is strong, the underlying mechanisms are less well understood and debate continues as to whether young humans are at risk for anesthetic neurotoxicity. The phenomenon of postoperative cognitive deterioration in the elderly remains controversial. Time course, severity, and whether or not it persists long term are under debate. For both patient groups, today's evidence is not sufficient to guide change in clinical practice. Well-designed research is therefore imperative to tackle this critical issue. Copyright © 2012. Published by Elsevier Inc.


Ansgar M Brambrink, Andrea Orfanakis, Jeffrey R Kirsch. Anesthetic neurotoxicity. Anesthesiology clinics. 2012 Jun;30(2):207-28

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PMID: 22901607

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