Study identifies new anesthesia side-effects in young children

Undergoing general anesthesia before the age of 1 may affect the cognitive abilities of children later in life, according to findings from a study published in Neuropsycopharmacology.

The study surveyed the recollection ability of 28 children between the ages of 6 and 11, each of whom had undergone anesthesia before their first birthday. While the group had intelligence and behavior similar to a control group of children, their recall of specific details regarding color and spatial recognition of geometric images was about 20 percent less accurate.

While the finding is unlikely to affect guidelines for pediatric anesthesia, researchers hope providers will carefully consider whether general anesthesia is necessary for their youngest surgery patients, according to a report from website The Verge.

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