Study: Children Exposed to Brief, Single Anesthetic Show No Long-Term Development Problems

Young children exposed to a brief, single anesthetic did not show any evidence of adverse long-term effects on the brain, according to a new Danish study published in the May 2011 issue of Anesthesiology.

According to the report, past studies in young animals have demonstrated that anesthetics can cause developmental and behavioral changes later in life. This latest study, on the other hand, found no evidence of a similar detrimental effect in children.

The study's researchers compared the academic performance of all Danish children born 1986-1990 who underwent inguinal hernia repair prior to one year of age (2,689 individuals) to a randomly selected sample of 5 percent of the remaining Danish children of the same age (14,575 individuals). The analysis compared the average test scores of participants in adolescence during the ninth grade, adjusting for gender, birth weight, parent age and education and the presence of other congenital malformations.

The study found no statistically significant difference in academic performance between the hernia group and the general population sample, according to the report.

Read more about Anesthesiology.

Related Articles on Anesthesia:
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Study: Different Anesthetics Cause Different Brain Activity
Dr. Ellison Pierce, "Father of Modern Anesthesia Safety Movement," Dies at 82

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