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2005 Grant - Price
Non-Cardiac Surgery and Alzheimer's Disease: Cortisol and Cognitive Decline
Catherine E. Price, Ph.D.
University of Florida
2005 New Investigator Research Grant
Research has shown that almost half of patients who undergo noncardiac surgery are cognitively impaired when they leave the hospital and that three months later, only 75 percent of them have completely regained their cognitive capacity. However, people with Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia have not been included in these studies. This raises the question: How might surgery affect their cognitive capabilities?
Catherine Price, Ph.D., and colleagues hypothesize that surgery on people with Alzheimer's disease would hasten their cognitive decline. To test this hypothesis, the researchers will study 45 people who are attending the same orthopedic surgery department. The researchers will assess changes in cognitive function in 15 people with Alzheimer's disease who elect to have total knee replacement, 15 people with Alzheimer's who elect to postpone surgery, and 15 patients who are free of dementia.
At two weeks and three months after surgery, the scientists will use a battery of neuropsychological tests to assess cognitive function. They will also measure levels of cortisol, a hormone that is released in times of stress. The findings will help determine if people with Alzheimer's disease are particularly vulnerable to the effects of surgery, and if so, whether biological stress might be a mitigating factor.