J Anesth Perioper Med. 2014;1(1):60-62. https://doi.org/10.24015/ebcmed.japm.2014.0010

Anesthesia and Postoperative Cognitive Dysfunction

Phillip Vlisides, and Zhongcong Xie

From Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA.

Correspondence to Dr. Zhongcong Xie at zxie@mgh.harvard.edu.

EBCMED ID: ebcmed.japm.2014.0010 DOI: 10.24015/ebcmed.japm.2014.0010


At present, the anesthesiologist is in a great position to lead the charge with regards to advances in perioperative neuroscience. On a daily basis, anesthesiologists induce a reversible comatose-like state in patients prior to their surgery, evaluate the brain activity in the operation room via potential electroencephalogram (EEG) monitoring, and safely facilitate the emergence from anesthesia. This platform of applied clinical neuroscience serves as a great foundation from which to launch exploratory efforts into the realms of consciousness and cognition. With further inquiry, we may be able to develop strategies for preventing, temporizing, and treating POCD. Through this work, we may also gain a better understanding of the biologic substrates of consciousness and cognition as well. Ultimately, we may then become able to better characterize and manage the different shades of consciousness Henry Jacob Bigelow described under ether anesthesia over 150 years ago.

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Declaration of Interests
No potential conflict of interest relevant to this opinion was reported.

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