Mayo Clinic: Anesthesia May Increase the Risk of ADHD in Children

A Mayo Clinic study has revealed that children who undergo two or more surgeries by the age of two are twice as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD by the time they are 19, according to a TIME report.

The results support an earlier study conducted by Mayo Clinic researchers that examined the effects of multiple surgeries on children's learning disabilities. That investigation also found that children who undergo operations before age two are more likely to experience problems with reading, writing, language and behavioral issues.

While the researchers are not certain as to the link between surgery and ADHD, they believe it may have to do with general anesthesia's affect on the brain. The drugs may accelerate neuron death that occurs early in life as babies' brains are forming new connections and dispensing of others.

For some reason, exposure to the agents in anesthesia may cause nerves to die off, leading to neural networks that cause learning problems later in life, according to the report. Animal studies have suggested changes to the brain's structure in rodents and primates that undergo anesthesia at a young age.

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