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Story Updated: Aug 21, 2012
There are many things that parents worry about when they are told that their child needs surgery. Anesthesia is one of those things.
Researchers in New York and Australia wanted to know whether anesthesia exposure posed any cognitive risk to young children.
Their study, just published in the journal Pediatrics, looked at more than 26-hundred children in Australia. Of those, 321 had anesthesia before they turned three.
At age 10, neuropsychological tests were done to see if those children exposed to the anesthesia had any differences in language, cognitive function, motor skills, or behaviors, as compared to the kids who had not had anesthesia.
The results: even a single exposure was associated with an increased risk for long-term deficits in receptive and expressive language...and abstract reasoning. No differences were noted in behavior or motor functions.
While delaying needed surgery is not advised, talk over any concerns you have about anesthesia with your physician.
I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV...with the news doctors are reading, health news that matters to you.