oa Southern African Journal of Anaesthesia and Analgesia - Anaesthesia and the brain : SASA refresher text



The brain is often a window to early changes in blood flow, tissue perfusion, or early neural damage manifested by a decline in higher cortical functions including recall memory and cognitive processing. The elderly population is particularly at risk of central nervous system injury, which may manifest as stroke and / or cognitive deterioration due to reduced cognitive reserve, as seen with aging-related cognitive decline. These changes in cognitive function are associated with reduced activities in daily living that substantially reduce the quality of life of the elderly, and can be magnified by physical or emotional stress in high-risk individuals.


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