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2012 Grants - Xie
Development of Safer Anesthesia for People with Alzheimer's Disease
Zhongcong Xie, M.D., Ph.D.
Massachusetts General Hospital
2012 Investigator-Initiated Research Grant
Anesthesia and surgery have been reported to induce or worsen cognitive dysfunction, and worsen Alzheimer's disease. Nevertheless, every year, many people with Alzheimer's disease require surgery. Zhongcong Xie, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues have obtained preliminary evidence that the commonly used anesthetic isoflurane worsened several of the biochemical features of Alzheimer's-like disease in mice, and worsened cognitive function in humans. In contrast, another anesthetic, desflurane, did not have these effects.
Dr. Xie and colleagues have proposed a series of studies to extend their observations in both mice and humans. Using mice that have been genetically engineered to have Alzheimer's-like disease, the researchers will compare how isoflurane and desflurane affect amyloid plaque formation, brain structure and learning and memory. They will also examine whether the breakdown products of these anesthetics reduce nerve cell function and cause nerve cell death in mice. Finally, Dr. Xie's team will study how the two anesthetics affect cognitive function in people who have Alzheimer's disease. These studies are important steps toward identifying safer anesthetics for people who have Alzheimer's disease.