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article imageIllness after heart surgery linked to specific genes

By Tim Sandle     Oct 22, 2013 in Health
Long-term complications after heart surgery, which can affect memory and thinking, appear to be linked to particular genes.
It is estimated that up to half of patients experience a decrease in cognitive function after heart surgery. As it stands, neurologic injury is one of the most common adverse side effects. Conditions like long-term memory loss, difficulty understanding verbal or written communication or impaired ability to pay attention may still occur five years after heart surgery. New research indicates that this is linked to patients who carry a particular gene.
Specifically the complications relate to people are born with the gene variation Apolipoprotein E4 (APOE4). The gene has also been associated with Alzheimer’s disease. The good news is that the gene can be identified through a genetic blood test, meaning that some post-surgical measures can be taken.
The finding came from a study where data from 233 elderly, Caucasian cardiac patients was reviewed. Each patient had experienced heart surgery. The patients were administered a battery of neuropsychological assessments just before surgery and five years after. This was accompanied by genetic testing and the causative gene was identified.
The new findings were presented at the Anaesthesiology conference.
More about Heart, Heart surgery, Genes, Memory, Alzheimers Disease
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