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General Anesthesia Exposure In Infancy Causes Long-Term Memory Deficits

Unknown Lamer posted about a month and a half ago | from the what-was-i-just-doing-again dept.

Medicine 90

First time accepted submitter LordFlower (606949) writes "In a study, published today in Neuropsycopharmacology, exposure to general anesthesia in both human and rat infants was associated with long-term episodic memory deficits. Children aged 6 to 11 years exposed to general anesthesia during infancy had poorer episodic memory than age/gender matched controls. This deficit was replicated in rats using an analogous paradigm with full experimental control of pre-existing conditions could be exercised, suggesting a causal relation rather than correlational one. Prior research in rats suggests a mechanism of disrupted developmental synaptogenesis and apoptosis.

While a growing literature has demonstrated the presence of memory deficits and neurodegeneration in rats after general anesthesia exposure in infancy, this is the first to demonstrate a long-term deficit after exposure during human infancy. Given that each year 1.5 million infants undergo a surgery requiring general anesthesia, these findings are particularly alarming."

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90 comments

Episodic memory (1)

uCallHimDrJ0NES (2546640) | about a month and a half ago | (#47198877)

Is my infantile general anasthesia experience the reason I can't recite the Hartnell episodes in order?

Re:Episodic memory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47198945)

No, it's a side-effect of the BBC's decision to try to erase history, all for the sake of re-using the tapes.

Re:Episodic memory (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month ago | (#47233931)

So that's what happened to all those missing Doctor Who tapes, those sneaky bastards...

I never felt right after tonsillectomy (3, Interesting)

peter303 (12292) | about a month and a half ago | (#47198887)

This is just an anecdote, not science. But that was the only time I had a general at age 5. That procedure was very common in those days. I never felt as good a muscular coordination aftwards as before. I am used to it after all these decades.

Re:I never felt right after tonsillectomy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47198929)

The article is about long term effects of general anesthesia in *infancy*.

Re:I never felt right after tonsillectomy (1)

sycodon (149926) | about a month and a half ago | (#47199505)

Well, it's not like an infant is worrying about where he left his shitty diaper.

Re:I never felt right after tonsillectomy (0)

rmdingler (1955220) | about a month and a half ago | (#47199685)

Children aged 6 to 11 years...

Second sentence...Great reading comprehension skills.

As an aside, if this hypothesis were proven, would you subject your seven-year-old offspring to an appendectomy with a local anesthetic? Tough call.

Re:I never felt right after tonsillectomy (2)

zzyzyx (1382375) | about a month and a half ago | (#47200143)

This particular sentence is badly formulated, but the study concerned 6 to 11 year old children who had general anesthesia when they were less than 1 year old.

Re:I never felt right after tonsillectomy (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about a month and a half ago | (#47201541)

Drat... give me the dunce cap.

Re:I never felt right after tonsillectomy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47200283)

Sure, my seven year old is not an infant after all.

Re:I never felt right after tonsillectomy (3, Insightful)

Prune (557140) | about a month and a half ago | (#47200545)

Mod parent down for lack of reading comprehension. The study is on 6-11 year olds who were exposed to general anesthesia within their first year, not those who were exposed during their 6th to 11th year.

Re:I never felt right after tonsillectomy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47201299)

Infancy != 11 year olds.

I can see how it might confuse Francophones (1)

tepples (727027) | about a month and a half ago | (#47202367)

Some European languages use a cognate of "infant" for much older children. In French, for example, enfant means "child" [wiktionary.org] .

Re:I can see how it might confuse Francophones (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47202659)

Some European languages use a cognate of "infant" for much older children. In French, for example, enfant means "child" [wiktionary.org] .

I was just pointing out that they're considered minors as opposed to infants, in the UK, I don't believe they even use the word minor, instead opting to call them 'underage' or simply 'child'

As for Europe, well they don't seem to follow any particular standard for pretty much else.

Re:I never felt right after tonsillectomy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47198931)

You claim to have had a good feeling of "muscular coordination" at age 5 and to have not had that feeling at age 6? I call utter codswallop on that, I'm afraid. That sounds like an adult back-projecting memories that then begin to feel real.

My counter-anecdote. I also had a tonsilectomy, aged 6. I have also been under general anaesthetic for a hernia repair, for emergency surgery, and for checkups after the emergency surgery. While my memory as an adult is not what it was, it was already in decline before my adult anaesthesia, most likely through a combination of the usual -- age, a normal growing inefficiency (or heightened selection of memory), and alcohol abuse. However, as a child and a teenager my memory was extremely good. Because I had a tonsilectomy when I was 6, I'm not going to pretend that I noticed a sudden drop in my coordination, because that would be a faintly ridiculous claim. Instead, I actually noticed no difference whatsoever, and most of that is probably because children aren't sitting there analysing their own coordination. However, I note that I was learning to swim beforehand and continued learning to swim after, which no drop in confidence or ability that I can remember. Likewise I cycled beforehand (as much as a 5 year old does, which is not very) and cycled after, and noticed no drop in confidence or ability.

So my anecdote rather goes against both the survey and against what you say you remember from your distance childhood, for what that means. (Nothing. The survey is statistical in nature and while I doubt the veracity of your anecdote, I don't doubt that *you* don't; I merely think it's most likely a back-projected adult memory, just like my memory of breaking my arm when I was 5. I know that's back-projected because my memory is from the outside, but it still feels perfectly valid. And of course I may very well be wrong even in that.)

Re:I never felt right after tonsillectomy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47199157)

This is just an anecdote, not science. But that was the only time I had a general at age 5. That procedure was very common in those days. I never felt as good a muscular coordination aftwards as before. I am used to it after all these decades.

It also apparently messes up memory.

So how do you know you remember having better coordination?

Re:I never felt right after tonsillectomy (1)

Trogre (513942) | about a month and a half ago | (#47199359)

There could be a relationship there.

More likely though is that children grow in bursts and you may have had such a growth spurt coincide with the surgery. Children who have become accustomed to their bodies having certain parameters (height, mass, limb length, etc), can and do often appear clumsy and less coordinated overall for a period when these parameters suddenly change. Although I suspect this is more evident in teenagers.

I had tonsillectomy (1)

kbahey (102895) | about a month and a half ago | (#47199891)

Reverse anecdote ...

I had tonsillectomy as well, when I was around 5. Yes, in the 1960s it was very common.

But never suffered from memory loss. On the contrary, I was always told I had good memory.

No problem with muscle coordination too

Re:I never felt right after tonsillectomy (1)

AnontheDestroyer (3500983) | about a month and a half ago | (#47202533)

Is this getting modded up because it's so stupid? I'm missing my mod points for today or I'd vote it down.

Re:I never felt right after tonsillectomy (1)

lsatenstein (949458) | about a month and a half ago | (#47207595)

This is just an anecdote, not science. But that was the only time I had a general at age 5. That procedure was very common in those days. I never felt as good a muscular coordination aftwards as before. I am used to it after all these decades.

I misread the headline. I thought that it was infantry, as opposed to infancy. I betcha both are true.

What Type (1)

Jim Sadler (3430529) | about a month and a half ago | (#47198923)

Did they do these studies with one type of anesthesia or many? Were some worse than others? I dread the thought of what we might use as an alternative. A punch in the jaw or a mallet to the top of the head are no longer acceptable.

Fluoride (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47199125)

Most general anesthetics are fluorine-based. Fluorine is a government-approved neurotoxin. Problem solved.

Re:What Type (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47199165)

Isoflurane, Sevoflurane, N2O

Re:What Type (4, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | about a month and a half ago | (#47199189)

Do the surgery without aesthetics. Then they'll wish they had a poor memory.

Re:What Type (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47199565)

What a ridiculous response.

Knowledge that Anesthetics are harmful can only lead to development of new/better protocols for their use. There are many options up to and including delaying minor surgery beyond various danger areas etc etc.

- ac

Re:What Type (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47199635)

Further, the extant animal data suggests a period of vulnerability. Some surgeries might be put off a year or two.

Re:What Type (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47200685)

Key here is local anesthesia as opposed to general or systemic anesthesia. When I had a wisdom tooth removed I had a choice of either.

Re:What Type (1)

complete loony (663508) | about a month and a half ago | (#47200289)

I'd rather the surgeon was calmed by the appearance of the operating theater. I don't see how deliberately making it ugly would improve the situation.

Re:What Type (2)

Khashishi (775369) | about a month and a half ago | (#47200903)

Circumcision is typically done without anesthetics.

Re:What Type (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47201031)

Depends where you are. My son went under a general at ~4yrold for that.

Re:What Type (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47201803)

Congrats, you mutilated your son's junk and screwed up his brain in one fell swoop.

Re:What Type (2)

riT-k0MA (1653217) | about a month and a half ago | (#47201231)

I know you were making a joke, but before 1986 surgery (including major surgery) on infants was routinely performed without anaesthesia (they used a paralytic to keep the infant still), as it was thought that anaesthetic were harmful to infants and infants did not have a fully developed nervous system necessary to feel pain. For the same reasons infants and children were denied pain medication.
Turns out that not only do infants feel pain like adults, but they still felt the pain from surgery as adults. The pain and trauma never went away so most of these adults suffer from a form of PTSD.

Re:What Type (1)

Cyfun (667564) | about a month and a half ago | (#47216989)

Fairly confident most babies don't have plastic surgery done, so there's no cause for concern.

memory deficits cause autism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47198941)

jenny?

Re:memory deficits cause autism (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | about a month and a half ago | (#47199425)

jenny?
I've got your number, it's 867-530.....shit I was put under anesthesia as a child and now I cannot remember the last digit.

Re:memory deficits cause autism (1)

cellocgw (617879) | about a month and a half ago | (#47204089)

jenny?
I've got your number, it's 867-530.....shit I was put under anesthesia as a child and now I cannot remember the last digit.

Ahhhh, c'mon now: you only have 10 numbers to try. How hot is jenny anyway that you'd give up so easily?

Research on Infant Dosages Needed (2)

BoRegardless (721219) | about a month and a half ago | (#47198943)

Obviously this extends the need to define not only what differences exist between men and women, but between adults, teens, children and infants for anesthesiology and drug doses.

Re:Research on Infant Dosages Needed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47199173)

Obviously this extends the need to define not only what differences exist between men and women, but between adults, teens, children and infants for anesthesiology and drug doses.

No shit. We hadn’t thought of that prior to your insightful comment. Now, thanks to you, we can finally start taking some steps forward.

Posting as AC so I don’t burn through my Karma.

Huh? (1)

Chas (5144) | about a month and a half ago | (#47198951)

Uh. What were we talking about again?

Oh! Hi! What's your name?

Personal anecdote (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47198953)

I had an eidetic memory as a kid. Then had to have 3 general anesthesias (broken bones, wisdom tooth extraction (all of them, jaw too small)) before puberty. It was gone afterwards and my school marks dropped from A* to B-D, got better towards the finals). It was terrible hard to remember stuff. Had to train myself for 15 years to regain it.

Doubtful (0)

Anna Merikin (529843) | about a month and a half ago | (#47198983)

This flies in the face of current theory, which says infants flush "excess" synapses and children continue to do so on a lesser scale for years. See

Huttenlocher P. Neural Plasticity: The Effects of the Environment on the Development of the Cerebral Cortex. Harvard University Press; 2002.

Or any decent Google search will support this.

Unless a lchemical ink can be shown in the chemistry resultant from the anaesthesia which might cause the synapses to morph, it will be very hard to "prove" this hypothesis.

Correlation does not prove causation.

Re:Doubtful (2)

geekoid (135745) | about a month and a half ago | (#47198991)

NO, it dis not fly in the face of the current theory, and it's "Correlation does not imply causation".

Re:Doubtful (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47199139)

http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=general+anesthesia+memory&btnG=&as_sdt=1%2C5&as_sdtp=
The data in rats is pretty strong. This is the first human study,

Re:Doubtful (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47199187)

http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=general+anesthesia+memory&btnG=&as_sdt=1%2C5&as_sdtp=

There is pretty strong evidence in rats.

Re:Doubtful (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47199213)

Actually, it may be that anesthesia disrupts the process of synaptic pruning.

Re:Doubtful (4, Informative)

buswolley (591500) | about a month and a half ago | (#47199265)

Note that the study included an experimental manipulation of anesthetic exposure in a sample of rats. This was an experimental manipulation which means that the author's could make a much stronger claim for causation. As far as mechanisms, this is being explored but it appears to be something that normal processes of synaptogenesis and synaptic pruning.

Re:Doubtful (1)

Trogre (513942) | about a month and a half ago | (#47199313)

Would, then, damage caused by exposure to other chemicals such as ethanol not also be flushed in infants?

I find that highly doubtful.

Re:Doubtful (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47199525)

Just because you can't say the mechanism doesn't mean the result is invalid. That type of thinking helped delay hygiene in medicine due to Ignaz Semmelweis [wikipedia.org] not being believed.

This really shouldn't be a surprise.... (1)

dgatwood (11270) | about a month and a half ago | (#47199043)

We've known for decades about the effect that alcohol (one particular CNS depressant) has on brain development. It seems reasonable to assume that other CNS depressants would have the same effect to some degree, at least up to the point where brain cell division stops (several months after birth, IIRC).

Nitpicking... (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a month and a half ago | (#47199059)

"causal relation as well as correlation". They are not mutually exclusive. On the contrary: the former requires the latter.

Re:Nitpicking... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47199909)

Wrong. y=x^2. Causal relationship? correlation?

You seriously overestimate your understanding of things

Re:Nitpicking... (1)

SlovakWakko (1025878) | about a month and a half ago | (#47200541)

A correlational relationship is a specific one where correlation exists, but causality is missing/unproven. If there is both causality and correlation (and you're right about the former requiring the latter) then it's a causal relationship.
Of course then there are also casual relationships, which are much better than the previous two types... :)

Re:Nitpicking... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47201787)

He's not right about causality requiring correlation, and now you're wrong too. There are literally an infinite number of data relationships with perfect causality but zero correlation. Simplest example: y = x^2. Perfect causation, but do the math and correlation is zero.

Maybe you should educate yourself before discussing a technical topic like statistics, and instead stick to opinions?

Non-Pearson correlation metrics (1)

tepples (727027) | about a month and a half ago | (#47205811)

Simplest example: y = x^2. Perfect causation, but do the math and correlation is zero.

That's true if you define correlation to mean only Pearson correlation [wikipedia.org] , for which y=x^2 on an interval symmetric about x=0 exhibits r(x, y)=0. But Pearson correlation is not [wikipedia.org] the only measure of statistical dependence; this article lists other metrics [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Nitpicking... (1)

uninformedLuddite (1334899) | about a month and a half ago | (#47207089)

Maybe you should educate yourself before discussing a technical topic like statistics, and instead stick to opinions?

This is /. so why?

Re:Nitpicking... (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a month and a half ago | (#47208035)

Maybe you should educate yourself before discussing a technical topic like statistics, and instead stick to opinions?

Real-world "causality" is a logical concept, not a statistical concept. Statistics can support logical causality, but they do not prove it.

On the other hand, as I stated in a different thread, statistics can be used to DISprove logical (real-world) causality.

So back off a bit before calling me ignorant. In any specific real-world circumstance, causality logically does imply a strict correlation. Although as we know, quite famously, the converse does not hold.

Re:Nitpicking... (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about a month and a half ago | (#47208093)

By the way: even if you are simply discussing statistics, you are simply wrong.

In the equation y = x^2, we do indeed have not just a correlation, but a perfect correlation. Between x, and y^2.

Nobody said it had to be a linear relationship. You assume far too much that nobody actually said.

It could be y = X^3+35x^2+25. It doesn't matter as long as it is a continuous function. You still have a perfect correlation -- and even causal relationship -- between x and y. And unlike most of the real world, it's a perfect correlation.

So get educated yourself. You are just plain wrong.

well isn't that wonderful (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47199245)

I wish someone had told me that 53 years ago while on the slab. My surgery wasn't life threatening. 4 surgeries all less than 4yo (1 .lt. 1yo) to fix a crossed eye. Explains a lot actually.

Selection bias (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47199291)

This suffers from heavy selection bias. Children who require general anesthesia in infancy overwhelmingly suffer from congenital malformations which portend a higher rate of subclinical CNS developmental malfunction typically manifesting as mild developmental delay. (I'm a pediatric surgeon).

Re:Selection bias (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about a month and a half ago | (#47199365)

I wondered about that. General surgery in infants is anything but common. You don't do it unless you have to. Certainly there are some other wise normal children who need general anesthesia - say from trauma, but many of them have pre existing conditions that makes them not a good 'normal'. Not sure how the rats figure into this though. What's a normal rat? A politician? A lawyer?

Re:Selection bias (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47200693)

Tonsillectomy is done in that age range, and for me was under general anesthesia.

Turns out that there's several methods and some require general and other require local: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tonsillectomy#Surgical_procedure

Re:Selection bias (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47201425)

But only on children that already have severe health problems. Doctors don't remove organs without a good reason.

Re:Selection bias (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47199413)

This is true. However, the complimentary data in rats, where pre-existing conditions were controlled, suggests that this is not the primary driver of these results in humans. Of course, there is a decently sized literature examining these effects in rats already; the dispute was whether it would be observed in humans. More research in humans is needed, of course, but I am sure you understand that experimental manipulation of anesthetic exposure in human infants is unethical. With more research money, I imagine researchers could find infants exposed to anesthesia during an MRI that was negative for problems. However, anytime you become more specific in your sampling requirements, the more it will cost. It needs to be done, but I cannot imagine that the funding would have been there to do this without these initial findings.

Re:Selection bias (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47200291)

And they just so happened to randomly allocate the rats with congenital malformations to the anesthesia groups I assume?

Re: Selection bias (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47200497)

The study was fair, they plucked only the finest rats from law school that day

Selection bias (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47200525)

And particularly for the relatively common case of brain injury (neonatal or otherwise). Infants anesthetization is required for an MRI.
Children with brain injury are certainly much more likely to have deficits like that recorded.
Nobody anesthetizes an infant without a darn good reason.

Re: Selection bias (1)

buswolley (591500) | about a month and a half ago | (#47202223)

Anesthetic is NOT required to image infants. Please do an internet search for MRI infants and natural sleep. Infancy researchers do it all the time.

Anesthetizing infants for MRI is done out of a misguided belief and or laziness.

Re: Selection bias (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47204047)

"Anesthetizing infants for MRI is done out of a misguided belief and or laziness."

You don't have the first idea what you're talking about. You're out of your mind. I'm an anesthesiologist. I absolutely HATE the days I draw the short straw to do kids down in radiology, for lots of reasons. I certainly don't spend time there sedating kids because I like it, or because it pays better than days spent in the ORs. We do it because the studies need to get done, and they can't get done without anesthesia.

I suppose it might be possible if you deprive the kid of sleep for a day or two. Do you have any idea how LOUD an MRI is? I can sleep through just about anything, but I'm skeptical I could sleep through an MRI.

Re: Selection bias (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47219319)

And I'm saying that researchers use natural sleep all the time, with proper noise reducing earplugs and headphones the noise is not a problem. Do a Google scholar search already!

Re: Selection bias (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47219563)

Many many peer reviewed researchers have successfully used natural sleep to MR image infants without an anesthetic. Yes the MRI is loud, but not after proper ear protection is applied. Plugs plus sound reducing headphones is enough.

https://www.google.com/search?... [google.com]
Take a look at this simple. You are wrong. I hope your overpayed ego can take it.

 

Re:Selection bias (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47201313)

This suffers from heavy selection bias. Children who require general anesthesia in infancy overwhelmingly suffer from congenital malformations which portend a higher rate of subclinical CNS developmental malfunction typically manifesting as mild developmental delay. (I'm a pediatric surgeon).

Circumcision (Male Genital Mutilation) used to be performed in the United States quite often without any anesthetic, but these days they may use local or general anesthesia if the parents insist on it. And since it is such a depressingly common procedure, I cant believe your comment that there would be heavy selection bias, since its done to many otherwise healthy baby boys.

Re:Selection bias (1)

Hodr (219920) | about a month and a half ago | (#47202111)

Good point. But how did the researcher manage to find so many rats with similar birth defects to choose for his study?

Re:Selection bias (1)

llamapater (1542875) | about a month and a half ago | (#47203051)

That's why they did the control study with rats. Needs more to be certain it's causal sure, but that's a good indication it might be.

Re:Selection bias (1)

ZenMonk (1967080) | about a month and a half ago | (#47203423)

Maybe so, but I was born with neuroblastoma in my chest -- not a "birth defect" in the usual sense, and nothing to do with my brain. I had surgery to remove the tumor at 10 days old (based on the scar, safe to say general anasthesia was used), followed by radiation and chemo. I've also been plagued with a crappy short-term memory my whole life (like, going downstairs for a drink, getting there, and not remembering why I went to the kitchen). If anything I always thought maybe it was the radiation, which stunted my growth in the affected areas, but this study fits me to a 'T'.

Re:Selection bias (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47203987)

radiation and chemo treatments are associated with memory problems too. However, this study excluded those patients from analysis.

1.5 million? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47200511)

I call shenanigans. There are approximately 4 million live births in the US annually (http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0005067.html). If annually 1.5 million infants underwent a surgery ~ 37% of US live born infants would need a surgery requiring GA in the first year of life. I suspect the 1.5 million is the number of surgeries requiring GA performed on patients under 1 year of age. The trouble is that, as the pediatric surgeon above mentioned, most infants needing surgery in the first year of life have congenital malformations requiring multiple trips to the operating room. So the reality is that some (small) percentage of infants are multiply exposed to GA.

If you want the see the public health side of this problem, don't look at GA and the OR, look at conscious sedation in the ED and acute care setting. When I was in residency we used to push combinations of Ketamine, benzos and opiates in the ED to get kids through orthopedic procedures and laceration repairs all the time. In an average 10 hour shift as the sedationist it would not be unusual for me to perform 10-15 sedations. In reviewing charts before a sedation it would not be unusual to see that a colleague had sedated for a fracture repair a year prior or even a month prior and the kid was back again because of another sports injury or the like. Even if the effect on cognition is minor, spread across the population of all children who ever break a bone or get a nasty cut requiring stitches there is the potential for significant population wide effects.

Re: 1.5 million? (1)

buswolley (591500) | about a month and a half ago | (#47202247)

Blame that on Lordflower reporting. The 1.5 million figure was not in the actual research paper.

WOW! (1)

UltraZelda64 (2309504) | about a month and a half ago | (#47200623)

Who would have guessed that a drug-induced coma, a chemical that literally knocks you the fuck out, would have any kind of long-term effect whatsoever on the brain? Is this seriously news? Did anyone seriously not just kind of figure that such strong drugs for the purpose of suspending the brain would have, you know, mental effects?

Re:WOW! (2)

Khashishi (775369) | about a month and a half ago | (#47200919)

Guessing that anesthesia has long term effects on the brain certainly isn't news. But demonstrating it using a controlled experiment is news indeed.

Exception here (1)

BoFo (518917) | about a month and a half ago | (#47201101)

I was operated on for a hernia at about 6 weeks of age. In 1954, I would be really surprised if general anesthesia was not administered.

I have no memory problems, as a matter of fact, I am renowned for my ability to remember facts and details. I guess I'm not a rat.

Re:Exception here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47201779)

Actually it is quite possible that the surgery was done without an anaesthetic. This article is quite good: Pediatric pain [macleans.ca]

Re:Exception here (1)

Frankie70 (803801) | about a month and a half ago | (#47203027)

Do you remember if you were given general anesthesia or not for your surgery when you were 6 weeks old?

Control? (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about a month and a half ago | (#47201199)

Of course they used as a control a group of children who underwent the procedure without anesthesia?

Re:Control? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47201323)

Of course they used as a control a group of children who underwent the procedure without anesthesia?

Anesthesia use was (and still is?) quite uncommon for circumcision.

Re:Control? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47201857)

I have three children,ages 9,7 & 7, 2 of whom are twins (Fraternal). One of the twins had to be put under general anaesthesia for ~ 24 hours due to intubation to treat pneumonia.
The other 2 children have never been under.

The twin that had the anaesthesia has also had the most problems with school/coordination of the three.

Re: Control? (1)

buswolley (591500) | about a month and a half ago | (#47202279)

You will understand that a controlled experimental manipulation of anesthetic exposure in humans is unethical. As a first step, this retrospective study had to be conducted, I am sure.

Perhaps I should worry... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47202175)

But I can't remember if I had anaesthesia as a child.

What about a pregnant mother who get anthesia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47202725)

How are babies that are born to mothers who receive anesthesia? Does it affect these babies?

I always have had memory issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a month and a half ago | (#47203907)

Now I know why...

Anecdotal but (1)

omfglearntoplay (1163771) | about a month and a half ago | (#47206387)

I distrust medicine much more than anybody I know. However, our pediatrician scared us into having my kid go through an MRI for a "possibly serious condition" when he was a few months old. Naturally nothing was wrong.

Now he is seven years old... and by fucking golly his memory is scarily good in all situations. My memory is better than at least 99% of adults I meet. The kid puts me to shame. Not only can he easily best me at any memory type of game, his episodic memory is incredible. He'll remember I promised we would do something, recalling every pertinent detail to make sure I adhere to it. He remembers who gave him what toy on which day (I used to remember that stuff when I was a kid). He recalls details of classroom events down to exact phrases.

What I'm trying to say is, as much as I hate medicine in general, I think this is one place at least my kid didn't get messed up by it.

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