Childhood Exposure to Anesthesia linked to Learning Disabilities

Mayo Clinic researchers have found that children undergo multiple surgeries with anesthesia during their first three years of life are at higher risk of developing learning disabilities. Using data from the Rochester Epidemiology Project, researchers studied the medical records of over 5,000 children fromwho were born between 1976 and 1982. The research team, led by Robert Wilder, M.D., Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic anesthesiologist, found that although one exposure to anesthesia was not harmful, more than one almost doubled the risk that a child would be identified as having a learning disability before age 19. The risk also increased with longer durations of anesthesia. Even so it is unclear whether the anesthetic, the physiological stress of surgery, or the medical problems that required surgery necessary are responsible for the increased risk of learning disabilities. The general anesthesia chemicals in use during … Read more