Surgery Requiring General Anesthesia Causes Dramatic Mental Decline in the Elderly
A Duke University anesthesiologist studied 354 elderly
patients approximately 70 years of age who were scheduled
for surgery requiring general anesthesia. Most of the
surgeries were for knee or hip replacement. The patients
mental function was noted repeatedly throughout the study.
The parameters of mental function tested were verbal learning,
memory, concentraton, mental speed, and attention span among
other mental processes. The surgery and general anesthesia
caused an abrupt and long-lasting mental decline in many of
the patients. This abrupt mental decline can lead to admission
to a nursing home or even death. At hospital discharge 59% of
the patients were mentally impaired. At 3 months after surgery
34% were sill mentally impaired. At two years post surgery 42%
were impaired with all of the impaired patients at 3 months
remaining impaired. The reseachers commented that giving
medication to prevent inflammation before surgery may protect
from mental decline along with optimal pain and infection
treatment after surgery. They also state to use regional
anesthesia rather than general if possible. The study was
presented at the October 23rd to 27th Annual Meeting of the
American Society of Anesthesiologists in Las Vegas.
Quercetin Protects Us from Cardiovascular Disease
When Quercetin, an important dietary flavonoid-polyphenol,
is absorbed from the intestines it is changed into various
metabolites. One of these, a major metabolite known as
Quercetin-3-Glucuronide has a strong ability to stabilize
LDL-cholesterol, even at very low levels of the metabolite).
It slows the oxidation of LDL-cholesterol by four fold.
The study is published in the August 2004 issue of the
journal Free Radical Research.
Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph.
Quercetin is found in green tea, in apple skins, and
in red wine. LDL-cholesterol goes bad easily and reacts
with the blood vessel walls greatly contributing to
cardiovascular disease. By slowing the oxidation of
LDL-cholesterol, Quercetin can help slow or prevent
Hormone Levels Drop in Aging Men
In aging men levels of DHEA, DHEA-sulfate, Melatonin,
Growth hormone, and IGF-1 all decrease. Estrogen levels
however remain the same. The study is published in the
September 2004 edition of the journal Urologe A.
New Hypothesis - Low Androgen Levels Allow the Growth of Dangerous Prostate Cancer
Androgen (male hormone) replacement therapy in aging
men improves health and quality of life. There has
been a question about a possible increased risk of
prostate cancer with androgen replacement therapy
not based n any existing evidence. However, recent
experimemental data shows that androgen may act to
prevent prostate cancer. Several studies of the effects
of testosterone on prostate epithelial tissue shows that
testosterone helps prostate cells differentiate normally
(turn into normal-healthy prostate cells) - an important
step in decreasing the risk of cancer, and also
testosterone does not affect cell proliferation (the
creation of new cells - a step associated with increased
risk of cancer under certain circumstance). Moreover,
clinical studies have shown that low levels of free
testosterone is associated with aggressive prostate cancer.
The suggestion by these data is that when the androgen
pathway is disrupted by low levels of male hormone the
cells of the prostate loose control and this allows
increased risk of prostate cancer. When prostate cancer
cannot be affected by androgens, an androgen independent
prostate cancer, it is very hard to treat, it is more
aggressive and is most often fatal. The new school of
thought is that when male hormone levels drop with age
and the man becomes deficient in these hormones the risk
of developing dangerous prostate cancer increases. The
question is raised as to whether normal replacement therapy
with male hormone could prevent the onset of prostate cancer.
A recent study is encouraging, elderly rats given DHEA were
protected from prostate cancer. The study is published in the
September 2004 issue of the journal European Urology.
Commentary by Jerry Hickey, R.Ph.
There is growing evidence that the culprit in the onset
of prostate cancer is estrogen dysregulation. Note that
we are talking about the risk of rpostate cancer in this
study, and not prostate cancer treatment which is different.
Low Levels of Testosterone Tied to Poor Memory
Low levels of testosterone have been shown to
trigger memory loss in older men. There are
receptor sites in the brain for testosterone
indicating the need for testosterone for normal
mental function. Researchers tested 14 men undegoing
testosterone deprevation therapy for prostate cancer
and compared their mental function to 16 men with
normal testosterone levels. The men with low testosterone
could recognize and grasp new information, but they could
not process it, store it as a memory, and retrieve it
later. In short, they forgot information quicker than
men with normal testosterone levels. The research was
presented at the Society of Neuroscience Annual Meeting,
Otober 23rd to 27th, in San Diego.