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Anesth Analg. 2019 Sep 6. doi: 10.1213/ANE.0000000000004385. [Epub ahead of print]

Baseline Functional Connectivity Predicts Connectivity Changes Due to a Small Dose of Midazolam in Older Adults.

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From the Departments of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine.
Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurobiology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama.



In the perioperative context, benzodiazepines are widely used as anxiolytics. They affect cognition in general, but it is unclear whether the effects of a small dose of the short-acting benzodiazepine midazolam can be assessed objectively. To address this scientific question, we conducted a prospective observational study in adults 55-73 years of age. Using both validated psychometric and functional imaging techniques, we determined whether a 2-mg intravenous (IV) dose of midazolam affects cognitive function.


We measured the effect of 2 mg IV of midazolam with both the well-established Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status test and resting-state functional magnetic imaging (rs-fMRI) in older adults.


Midazolam reduces immediate and delayed memory and has a profound and robust effect on rs-fMRI. Baseline resting-state connectivity predicts memory decline after midazolam administration.


Observed effects of midazolam on brain networks were statistically significant even in a small group of volunteers. If validated by other investigators, resting-state brain connectivity may have utility as a measure to predict sensitivity to midazolam in older adults.

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