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Home >  E-Weekly >  August 5, 2014

Is General Anesthesia Safe For Children?

Published: August 4, 2014

Recent studies have sparked concerns about the damage that general anesthesia may do to children's brains, but new research suggests that the disruptive effects are temporary and reversible.

Biologists at the University of California, San Diego, and Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, cultured the brain cells of embryonic rats, then exposed them to the inhalational agent isoflurane while examining them under time-lapse microscopic imaging.

While they noted an immediate impact on the number and structure of the connections between brain cells, the connections began regenerating after the isoflurane was washed out of the culture.

"Our study was reassuring in the sense that the effects are not irreversible and this fits in with known clinical effects," says Hugh C. Hemmings Jr., MD, who chairs the anesthesiology department at Weill Cornell and co-authored the study, which was published in the journal PLOS ONE.

David Bernard

 
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