Advertisement

How can anesthetics affect the brains of children?

"Anesthetic neurotoxicity is not just a topic of interest to anesthesiologists and researchers; it is now considered a public health concern, having attracted the attention of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the population at large. The molecular mechanisms linking anesthetic exposure and neuron cell death must be identified for this phenomenon to be prevented.

Multiple animal studies have demonstrated that anesthetic exposure during a critical period of synaptogenesis causes cell death in the brains of young rodents and nonhuman primates; these animals demonstrate deficits in learning and memory later in life. How these findings translate to humans is still unclear. Retrospective analyses of select pediatric populations have suggested that children with multiple anesthetic exposures have an increased likelihood of developing learning disabilities and behavioral problems. However, the retrospective nature of these studies, which contain many confounding factors, makes it impossible to assign causality." (Katherine R. Gentry, MD, et al., "Early Developmental Exposure to Volatile Anesthetics Causes Behavioral Defects in Caenorhabditis elegans," Anesthesia & Analgesia, January 2013, pp. 185-189.)

Continue Learning about Anesthetic Agent

What are the risks and side effects of an epidural?
StoneSprings Hospital CenterStoneSprings Hospital Center
The risks and side effects of an epidural include infection at the site of the needle and headache. ...
More Answers
How can doctors measure consciousness during general anesthesia?
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MDDr. Mehmet Oz, MD
An active brain during general anesthesia is particularly difficult to monitor. Doctors might suspec...
More Answers
What is an anesthetic?
Piedmont Heart InstitutePiedmont Heart Institute
An anesthetic is a drug or other substance that causes a loss of feeling or awareness. Local anesthe...
More Answers
What should I know before using topical lidocaine?
Donna Hill Howes, RNDonna Hill Howes, RN
If you have heart conduction disorder (AV block) or impaired liver function, lidocaine may not be a ...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.