National Public Radio shared study results from the Mayo Clinic that focused on children who had received multiple surgeries requiring general anesthesia before the age of four. The results were sobering.
Scientists were initially interested because use of the anesthesia in young rats and other animals killed brain cells.
If a child had only a single operation with general anesthetic by the time they turned four, no harm was seen. But children who’d had two surgeries were one and a half times more at risk. And for kids who had undergone three operations “the risk went up to two and a half times.” Of the kids in the study who’d “had three or more operations, 50 percent of them later developed a learning disability.”
Researcher Wilder speculates that anesthesia could cause learning problems in young children because it travels to the brain at a time when the brain is developing rapidly.
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