Updated on 25 October 2012
NIH study validates warnings given by anesthesiologist Dr Barry Friedberg about brain damage
Singapore: A recent study conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has validated the warnings about the risk of brain damage during major surgery given by noted anesthesiologist Dr Barry Friedberg for several years. The research revealed that the use of a brain monitor while a patient is anesthetized during surgery significantly reduces the risk of delirium and postoperative cognitive dysfunction (POCD).
The study in 921 elderly patients confirmed the self-evident claims made by Dr Friedberg about the dangers of over-medicating with anesthesia during surgery. Dr Friedberg authored a book titled ‘Getting over going under: 5 things you must know before anesthesia' on the subject and formed the non-profit Goldilocks Anesthesia Foundation to educate the public about avoiding the hidden dangers from anesthesia over-medication by the use of brain monitors during surgery.
This large clinical study in major, non-cardiac surgery also projected that for every 1,000 patients, brain monitoring would prevent delirium in 83 patients and POCD in another 23 within 30 days after surgery.
"Elderly patients' brains are more sensitive to anesthesia over medication. More boomers and their parents are aging and having surgery under anesthesia. Substantial financial costs caring for mentally damaged post-op patients could be averted by implementation of routine brain monitoring," said Dr Friedberg.
Two decades ago, Dr Friedberg, developed a safer anesthesia protocol, subsequently made numerically reproducible with the brain monitor and earning him a US congressional award. His book also details one of the findings that about 80 percent of the surgeries in the US put patients at risk of being afflicted with delirium, POCD or even permanent brain damage because a brain monitor is not used.