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21 March 2023

Using CANTAB to understand more about depth of anaesthesia and post-operative cognitive dysfunction

We caught up with Anders Aasheim from Oslo University Hospital who told us more about his team’s research in understanding the effect of anaesthesia on cognitive function.

My name is Anders Aasheim, and I am a nurse anaesthetist and PhD-fellow at Oslo University Hospital in Norway. 

What are you trying to find out?

We are a group of anaesthesiologists and nurse anaesthetists who are studying EEG-based depth of anaesthesia monitoring. Our research group are investigating post-operative cognitive dysfunction (POCD) following general anaesthesia in neurosurgical spinal surgery. We are particularly interested in the effect of anaesthesia on executive function. Our objective is to study the effects of intravenous anaesthetics and differing levels of anaesthetic depths. One question we want to examine is whether EEG-based depth of anaesthesia monitoring can individualize dosing of perioperative medication, and thus secure a level of anaesthesia that is not too light, or too deep – and if this has an effect on POCD.

We are currently about halfway to recruiting the 100 patients that we need. We hope to finish recruitment by the end of 2023. 

Why did you choose CANTAB® for your study?

We chose CANTAB® to assess cognitive function because it is a validated tool that reduces bias. CANTAB gives a detailed and accurate result on assessing cognitive function, and may be a way to distinguish between nuanced levels of POCD.  The tests we have chosen are Stockings Of Cambridge (SOC), Spatial Working Memory (SWM), Stop Signal Task (SST) and Intra-Extra Dimensional Set Shift (IED).

The support from Cambridge Cognition during acquisition was very helpful, and we rely on them to deliver secure data management and on methods to interpret our detailed results.

We are looking forward to using the data provided by CANTAB to learn more about depth of anaesthesia and post-operative cognitive dysfunction. 

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Picture of Anders Aasheim

Anders Aasheim

Oslo University Hosptial

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