A new study has revealed that middle-aged adults who go under general anesthesia are 29% more likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease than those who don’t. Although patients should not be afraid of going under general anesthesia, the study suggests that a patient’s cognitive performance should be checked before and after general anesthesia.

The study led by Dr. Kim Do-hwan from Samsung Medical Center analyzed the data of 219,423 men and women over the age of 50. The results of the study were published in the recent edition of “Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease,” an international academic journal.

General Anesthesia

The research team compared 44,956 patients who had gone under general anesthesia to a control group of 174,469 people to check for the onset of dementia between 2002 and 2013. Amongst the two groups, a total of 8,890 were diagnosed with dementia. A large portion of the dementia patients was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

The group that had gone under general anesthesia were found to have a 28.5% higher chance of developing dementia compared to the control group. Already reflected in the results were other factors attributing to the onset of dementia such as age, gender, other illnesses and surgical procedures.

In addition, patients that were administered a mix of several anesthetics showed a 49% greater chance of dementia compared to patients administered with just one type of anesthetic. The study also stated that as each hour under general anesthesia passed, the patient had a 6% higher chance of ending up with dementia.