aging

healthy, normal aging

Reducing Cognitive Impairment after Surgery

Older patients with neurodegenerative disease quite often need surgery for reasons unrelated to their cognitive problems. Both the hospital and surgical environments can be challenging for patients, but with some planning, these difficulties can be minimized. The suggestions that follow are not all inclusive, and we suggest discussing suggestions your physician/s may have prior to any surgical procedure.

Older patients with neurodegenerative disease quite often need surgery for reasons unrelated to their cognitive problems. Both the hospital and surgical environments can be challenging for patients, but with some planning, these difficulties can be minimized. The suggestions that follow are not all inclusive, and we suggest discussing suggestions your physician/s may have prior to any surgical procedure.

Medications to Avoid

It is always good try to non-drug interventions before turning to medications but sometimes medications are necessary. Certain types of medications may actually increase confusion, and people with cognitive problems may be particularly sensitive to these effects. In addition, they may interfere with the medications used to treat cognitive problems.

It is always good try to non-drug interventions before turning to medications but sometimes medications are necessary. Certain types of medications may actually increase confusion, and people with cognitive problems may be particularly sensitive to these effects. In addition, they may interfere with the medications used to treat cognitive problems. Below is information about medications to try to avoid if you have cognitive problems.

Anxiety

What medications are commonly used for anxiety?

Raquel C. Gardner, MD

Clinical Instructor and Behavioral Neurology Fellow

Dr. Gardner completed her BA degree in Neuroscience and Behavior at Columbia University in New York. She received her medical degree from Harvard University. She completed her internship in internal medicine and residency in neurology at UCSF. She then joined the UCSF Memory and Aging Center in 2012 where she is a Clinical Instructor and a Behavioral Neurology Fellow. As a neurologist, Dr. Gardner evaluates and treats patients with various neurodegenerative disorders and provides them with follow-up care. Her current research focuses on understanding cognitive, motor, and psychiatric sequelae of traumatic brain injury in older adults.

Joy Lee

Clinic Coordinator

Joy Lee is a clinic coordinator for the Memory and Aging Center. She is a certified Phlebotomy Technician (2008), studied medical terminology and is a certified medical biller and coder (2009). She has five years of dental background at the UCSF School of Dentistry and over seven years of experience in administrative and clerical support. She would like to pursue her career in the Memory and Aging Center. And she loves to bake!

Carrie Cheung

Clinic Coordinator

Carrie, a San Francisco native, comes from a sales and public service background with over 10 years of management. She graduated from San Francisco State University with a creative writing degree and a minor in holistic health. She enjoys helping the public, learning new cultures and challenges, and writing about her experiences.

Carole Scherling, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar

Carole Scherling, PhD, is a postdoctoral student at the UCSF Memory and Aging Center. After undergraduate work at the University of Ottawa, she completed a masters degree in neurological sciences at McGill University and a doctorate in behavioral neurosciences at the University of Ottawa. Her past research focused on mild clinical impairments in both healthy and clinical populations using MRI and fMRI techniques, neuropsychological assessments and biological markers. Her current research centers on behavioral and neurophysiological measurements of insight and cognitive abilities in patients with neurodegenerative disease.

Dena Dubal, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor of Neurology

Dr. Dubal received her MD and PhD degrees from the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. Her graduate research with Dr. Phyllis Wise focused on effects of hormones on stroke injury. Dr. Dubal completed a medical internship and neurology residency at UCSF, where she also served as chief resident. She then trained with Drs. Lennart Mucke and Bruce Miller, who shared the 2011 Potamkin Prize in Neurodegeneration. Dr. Dubal is an Assistant Professor of Neurology at UCSF and directs the Laboratory of Neuroscience and Aging research. Her laboratory's research focus is on how to slow or block aging to prevent diseases of the aging brain, such as Alzheimer's. She is a recipient of the Paul Beeson Career Development Award through the NIA and American Federation for Aging Research.

Information on Dr. Dubal's Laboratory for Neuroscience and Aging Research can be accessed at www.duballab.org.

Georges Naasan, MD

Neurologist, Clinical Instructor

Dr. Georges Naasan received his medical degree from the American University of Beirut in Lebanon. He completed an internship in medicine and a residency in neurology at Case Western Reserve University, University Hospitals of Cleveland. He joined the UCSF Memory and Aging Center in 2011 where he is a Clinical Instructor and a Behavioral Neurology Fellow.

As a neurologist, Dr. Naasan evaluates patients and research participants with various neurodegenerative disorders through a multidisciplinary approach and provides follow-up care. He is particularly interested in the psychotic manifestations of neurodegenerative diseases such as hallucinations and delusions. During his residency, he used functional MRI imaging techniques to study the anatomy of misidentification delusions such as the Capgras syndrome.

Alex Beagle

Research Coordinator

Alex graduated from UC Berkeley in 2011 with BA degrees in cognitive science and psychology. During his undergraduate career he volunteered in the Matthew Walker Sleep & Neuroimaging Lab, specializing in EEG and fMRI studies on sleep’s relationship to emotional processing. He also volunteered in UC Berkeley Phonology Lab where he helped investigate phonetically-motivated differences in speech perception. During his time at Cal he also served as a Director’s Assistant in the Cal Band, arranging music for the drumline.

Alex joined the Memory and Aging Center in July 2011 as a research assistant for the Hillblom Aging Network, a longitudinal study of what constitutes normal aging and what early cognitive declines are associated with neurodegenerative disease. He also coordinates Dr. Keith Vossel’s study on the relationship between neurodegenerative diseases and epilepsy.

In his free time during the fall, Alex can be found firmly planted in front of his TV watching college football. During any other season you might find him attending concerts around the bay area, trying out a new restaurant, or taking a trip to somewhere new.

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