Study: One-Time Anesthesia Exposure in Young Patients Does Not Cause a Decrease in IQ

June 15, 2016 | Risk Management News

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​Exposing a child younger than 36 months to general anesthesia one time does not cause any statistical difference in neurocognitive outcomes later in life when compared with healthy siblings who did not undergo anesthesia, found an investigation published on June 7, 2016, in JAMA. Exposing developing brains of rodents and non-human primates to anesthesia impairs brain functions later in life, the authors said. To see whether these results carried over to humans, the authors conducted a sibling-matched cohort study of 105 sibling pairs between May 2009 and April 2015 at four university-based pediatric tertiary care hospitals. In each pair of siblings, who were within 36 months of each other in age, one had undergone a single exposure to general anesthesia before hernia surgery, while the other sibling had no exposure.

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