Anesthesia may alter children’s brains

Anesthesia may alter children's brains

When it comes to more complex surgical procedures, it is likely patients will receive anesthesia. Whether this treatment is provided intravenously or through inhaled gases, the goal is to render individuals unconscious for the duration of their medical procedure.

As children must also undergo surgical procedures, they too may receive anesthesia. However, researchers from Stony Brook University School of Medicine recently learned that how this treatment is delivered could impact kids' brains. Their findings, which appear in "Anesthesiology," show that inhaled anesthetic, more than intravenous anesthetic, is linked to higher levels of brain lactate.

The researchers' findings are important, as increased brain lactate has the potential to spur metabolic changes related to delirium and anxiety.

"This activity resulting in lactate 'flooding' in the setting of anesthesia may be disadvantageous and increase the chance of children becoming anxious and/or delirious during emergence from anesthesia or in the immediate post-operative period," said Helene Benveniste, who led the study.

If children have undergone surgery and received anesthesia, parents may want to have them take an IQ test for kids to see if it has affected their cognitive abilities in any way.


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