Postoperative Cognitive Dysfunction (POCD) is diagnosed by the International Society of Postoperative Cognitive Dysfunction as subtle deficits in one or more discrete domains of cognition, e.g. attention, concentration, executive function, verbal memory and psychomotor speed. This condition typically develops over weeks to months, and is long-lasting. The diagnosis requires sensitive presurgical and postsurgical neuropsychiatric testing.

Causes of POCD are thought to include decreased brain oxygenation during surgery and inflammation.

The number of major surgical interventions (requiring anesthesia) exceeds 230 million worldwide and because of the increasing prevalence of surgical interventions in patients >65 years old, this age group will become the largest segment of surgical patients by 2020. If current rates hold steady, we can expect that millions of elderly patients will run the risk of developing POCD.

ProNeurogen peptide therapeutics will target POCD by inhibiting brain inflammation and improves cerebral blood flow.