Home Anesthesiology Early Use of Anesthesia Does Not Lead to Cognitive Deficits in Kids

Early Use of Anesthesia Does Not Lead to Cognitive Deficits in Kids

No lingering mental effects seen after one exposure, but more research needed

WEDNESDAY, June 8, 2016 (HealthDay News) — General anesthesia doesn’t seem to harm young children’s mental development, according to research published in the June 7 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The researchers looked at 105 healthy children younger than 3 who had surgery to repair an inguinal hernia. Between the ages of 8 and 15, researchers assessed the children’s IQ; language; behavior; and cognitive functions, including memory, learning, attention, and thinking speed.

The exposed children were no different than siblings who were not exposed to general anesthesia at a young age. The researchers observed no statistically significant differences in mean scores for memory/learning, motor/processing speed, visuospatial function, attention, executive function, language, or behavior.

“We need to take a closer look at the effect of anesthesia on cognitive function in girls, since most of the subjects in the group exposed to anesthesia were boys,” study author Lena Sun, M.D., a professor of pediatric anesthesiology and pediatrics at the Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, said in a Columbia news release. Also, the effects of repeated and prolonged exposure to anesthesia should be studied further, especially in children with serious medical conditions, she added.

Full Text (subscription or payment may be required)

Copyright © 2016 HealthDay. All rights reserved.