Operation Makes Dementia Patients Smarter

Dementia

Author: University of Gothenburg
Published: 2011/01/25 - Updated: 2022/06/23
Contents: Summary - Definition - Introduction - Main - Related

Synopsis: Researchers reveal that an operation can help patients with dementia caused by white matter changes and hydrocephalus.. Surgery is not generally used today for patients with hydrocephalus and white matter changes. But the researchers' findings pave the way for a new group of patients who could benefit from a shunt operation. The researchers found that patients' mental functions and ability to walk improved tangibly after having a shunt inserted.

Introduction

Researchers from the University of Gothenburg and Sahlgrenska University Hospital are the first to show that an operation can help patients with dementia caused by white matter changes and hydrocephalus. Presented in the American Journal of Neurosurgery, the results are based on the world's first study to demonstrate the effects of a shunt operation using a placebo control.

Main Digest

Fourteen patients were followed for an average of three and a half years after the operation, with half being given a non-functioning shunt - in other words, a sham operation - and the other half a functioning shunt. This is the equivalent to the placebo given in drug trials to determine how much of the treatment's effect is down to the patient's and others' expectations.

"For obvious reasons, this is problematic in a surgical context, and surgical placebo studies are highly unusual," says Magnus Tisell, a docent at the Sahlgrenska Academy and consultant neurosurgeon at Sahlgrenska University Hospital. "However, if you can do this kind of study, the level of evidence is the highest possible - class 1."

The researchers found that patients' mental functions and ability to walk improved tangibly after having a shunt inserted. Half were given an open shunt right from the start and showed immediate improvement, while the other half were initially given a closed shunt and improved only after three months when the shunt was opened.

"Shunt operations have long been used for hydrocephalus, but this study offers more scientifically-conclusive results to support the effect of the treatment and also shows that shunt operations can help far more patients than previously believed with their walking and memory," says Tisell.

Surgery is not generally used today for patients with hydrocephalus and white matter changes. But the researchers' findings pave the way for a new group of patients who could benefit from a shunt operation.

"We believe that far more patients than is currently the case could benefit from a shunt operation, which will require more resources," says Tisell. "We also need to learn more about which patients are good candidates for the operation and which shunt is best in each case."

Publication Data:

Journal: Journal of Neurosurgery

Title: Shunt surgery in patients with hydrocephalus and white matter changes.

Authors: Magnus Tisell ,Mats Tullberg, Per Hellstrom, Mikael Edsbagge, Mats Hogfeldt, Carsten Wikkelso

Attribution/Source(s):

This quality-reviewed publication was selected for publishing by the editors of Disabled World due to its significant relevance to the disability community. Originally authored by University of Gothenburg, and published on 2011/01/25 (Edit Update: 2022/06/23), the content may have been edited for style, clarity, or brevity. For further details or clarifications, University of Gothenburg can be contacted at gu.se/en. NOTE: Disabled World does not provide any warranties or endorsements related to this article.

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Cite This Page (APA): University of Gothenburg. (2011, January 25 - Last revised: 2022, June 23). Operation Makes Dementia Patients Smarter. Disabled World. Retrieved July 24, 2024 from www.disabled-world.com/health/aging/dementia/smarter.php

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