On Monday, I showed you a very simple way to prepare for surgery. Simply walking 12 miles a week can improve your surgery outcome, help you recover faster, and cut your hospital bill by up to 30%. While preconditioning is vital for improving your surgery experience, it's also important to know what to expect after surgery and how to address it.
For many older adults, surgery recovery includes days, weeks, or even months of brain fog and cognitive decline. Doctors and researchers used to assume this was just an unfortunate side effect of anesthesia. But new research shows that anesthesia isn't to blame after all. This is good news, as it means there may be something you can do to fight your way through this fog more effectively.
Surgery, though it's done with good intent, is still traumatic to the body. And any trauma creates inflammation. A research team at UC San Francisco found that surgery often creates inflammation in the brain — even if the surgery is in, say, your foot. It's this inflammation, not the anesthesia, that causes the cognitive decline that occurs in over 10% of patients ages 60 and up who undergo surgery.
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The researchers found that this inflammatory response occurs in the brain because the brain has specialized immune cells called microglia that go on high alert whenever the body experiences a trauma. So they decided to investigate whether turning down the microglia response could help diminish cognitive decline.
They began testing their theory on mice, giving them an oral drug that would deplete their microglia. After surgery, the mice that received the drug were much less likely to fail memory tests than the mice that experienced a full microglia response. They also recorded much lower levels of inflammation in the hippocampus (a key player in memory) in the mice who received the drug. As receiving the drug did not seem to harm the mice, the researchers are hopeful that they will eventually be able to replicate these results in humans.
It will be some time before such a drug like this is available. But I have good news. There are natural ways to reduce inflammation in the brain. So even if you can't stop your microglia from responding to the surgery, you can quickly lessen the inflammation's impact with the right nutrients. So in addition to preconditioning using ozone, exercise, or both, you also can take two different supplement formulas to protect your brain.
The first one is Reduloxin, which is an anti-inflammatory formula. It works to reduce inflammation throughout your body. So it doesn't matter where you have surgery, this can help. The other formula is Advanced Memory Formula. It contains luteolin, which can help you clear out the brain fog that could accompany your recovery. Just make sure you purchase these supplements ahead of time — you don't want to forget about them if the inflammation hits you (and your memory) harder than you anticipated!
Yours for better health,
Frank Shallenberger, MD