From Science Daily:
A single exposure to general anesthesia poses no cognitive risk to healthy children under age three, a critical time in brain development, according to a multicenter study led by researchers at Columbia University Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital. Findings from the study, the largest and most comprehensive of its kind, were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
“A number of animal studies have suggested that exposure to commonly used anesthetic agents in early development could lead to deficits in learning, memory, attention, and other cognitive functions,” said lead author Lena S. Sun, MD, the Emanuel M. Papper Professor of Pediatric Anesthesiology and professor of pediatrics at Columbia, and chief of pediatric anesthesiology at NewYork-Presbyterian/Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital. “However, few clinical studies have adequately addressed whether this is also true in humans. Based on our findings, we can reassure parents that one exposure to anesthesia is safe for healthy young children.”
“The potential neurotoxicity of anesthetic agents commonly used in general anesthesia has been one of the most pressing concerns in pediatric surgery in the past decade. The PANDA project is among the most rigorously designed studies aimed at addressing this concern. Our findings should be reassuring to millions of parents whose young children need to undergo surgical procedures under general anesthesia across the world each year,” said Guohua Li, DrPH, MD, professor of epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health and College of Physicians and Surgeons and a co-author of the paper.