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Viewpoint |

Critical Care and the Brain

Robert C. Tasker, MBBS, MD1,2; David K. Menon, MD, PhD3,4
[+] Author Affiliations
1Department of Anesthesia, Perioperative and Pain Medicine, Division of Critical Care Medicine, Department of Neurology, Boston Children’s Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts
2Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
3Division of Anaesthesia, Clinical School, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom
4Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, United Kingdom
JAMA. 2016;315(8):749-750. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.0701.
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This Viewpoint discusses the importance of preserving cerebral function in critical care settings and the challenges of providing care that promotes recovery of brain function and improved functional outcomes.

Critical care is always about the brain. This statement is obvious when the primary problem is neurologic emergencies. However, even when the primary pathology necessitating intensive care unit (ICU) treatment lies outside the brain, the eventual aim of care is preserving cerebral function. Thus, regardless of whether the proximate cause for ICU admission is neurologic insult or systemic illness, there is increasing recognition of the long-term effects of these conditions and their treatment on recovery of brain function and functional outcomes over the long term.

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