Jul 2, 2013

Study Finds Proteins of Alzheimer’s in Older Patients After Surgery

Researchers found those patients with a lower ratio of Abeta to Tau in their Cerebrospinal Fluid before surgery -- performed worse on the cognitive tests after their operation.

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This study included 136 patients, so it is a small study. The patients being examined were older and about to undergo knee or hip replacement surgery.

Some of the patients did perform worse on cognitive test after their operation. The current hypothesis is that more Abeta is being accumulated in the brain.

New Study Finds Key Proteins of Alzheimer’s In The Cerebrospinal Fluid of Older Patients Post Surgery

The Gist

New research examining levels of the hallmark proteins linked to Alzheimer’s disease found in patients suffering from post-operative cognitive changes (POCC) may lead to safer surgery care and better post-operative outcomes for senior adults.

The Highlights
  • The study took place at Massachusetts General Hospital with partial funding from the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund.
  • The cognitive abilities of 136 patients were tested one week before, one week after, and again 3 – 6 months after post-elective knee or hip replacement surgery.
  • Lead researcher and corresponding author Zhongcong Xie, Ph.D., and his associates looked at the levels of Abeta proteins and Tau proteins in each patient’s cerebrospinal fluid (CSF).
  • Abeta proteins are key components of the plaque outside nerve cells in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s, and neurofibrillary tangles are made up of an insoluble buildup of Tau proteins inside nerve cells.
  • The ratio of Abeta to Tau has been considered as a biomarker of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Xie and his research team found those with a lower ratio of Abeta to Tau in their CSF before surgery performed worse on the cognitive tests postoperatively than those with higher levels, which Xie hypothesizes is because more Abeta is being accumulated in the brain.
  • Uncovering the link between ratios of Abeta to Tau in the CSF may lead to better identifying patients at high risk for cognitive changes post surgery.
“With these results, we can continue to work toward improving our surgery care and outcomes for these senior adults,” said Xie. “This is an important finding as we continue to learn about the long-term effects of anesthesia and surgery can have on senior adults and their post-operative thinking.”
About Cure Alzheimer’s Fund
In nine years, with $20 million invested in research, Cure Alzheimer’s Fund has a strong track record in funding novel approaches to understanding the causes of Alzheimer’s disease and the biological processes that drive the pathology. Cure Alzheimer’s Fund has supported 72 projects in 51 laboratories of leading Alzheimer’s researchers in the U.S. and abroad. Cure Alzheimer’s Fund is a 501c3 public charity and seeks no financial gain for its founders, donors or researchers. The Founders and Board members pay all expenses of the Foundation so that all contributions from others go directly to research.

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