November 4, 2009

Anesthesia: Could Early Use Affect the Brain Later?

By Kelley Luckstein

General anesthesia — the enabler of modern surgery and medical intervention — is one of the great triumphs of the scientific method. Ether, the compound from which almost all modern anesthetics are derived, was discovered largely by luck and its derivatives through trial and error. As a result, however, much about these drugs remains mysterious. Even today, doctors are baffled as to why exactly anesthetics cause unconsciousness in patients…


More recently, at the Mayo Clinic, in Minnesota, anesthesiologist Dr. Robert Wilder published a study that found a link between exposure to anesthesia and surgery in infancy and learning disabilities later in life


It has been a similarly frustrating situation for Wilder. "All we can say to parents, at the moment, is that you shouldn't do unnecessary procedures on kids — but we knew that already," he says.


Time by Eben Harrell, 11/3/09

Tags: anesthesia, Anesthesiology, brain, Neurology, surgery

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