A recent study in April 2009, Anesthesiology Journal suggests that the use of anesthesia in children, especially very young children (under age 3) puts them at risk for being diagnosed with developmental disorders or learning disabilities as they get older. This makes sense since children whose brains are still developing and are easily affected by assaults of chemicals or toxins that are in anesthetics. This study is particularly of importance since anesthetics are being more liberally used in dentistry and out-patient testing procedures especially for children. Many parents of autistic children in my practice will ask me about the safety of anesthesia and their kid's dental procedures. Up until now, I've always said that they should weather the procedures just fine with some extra liver detox support to get the anesthetics out of the system more quickly. However, in light of this new study, I will probably rethink allowing this for dental procedures unless the procedures are imperative.
It seems that one use of anesthetics were fine and did not seem to have a long term impact on the brain of children and two uses increased the risk of developing a learning disability by 59%. Three or more uses increased the risk by a whopping 2.6 times. Obviously, the longer the child is under anesthesia, the more at risk they are for developing development disorders.
This research was done on healthy children with no brain deficits or learning problems at the start of the study. I am supposing that the risk for children who already have learning disabilities or developmental problems like autism or ADD/ADHD will find that their risk might go up exponentially or exacerbate their current situation. As parents, it is important to take this into consideration prior to allowing your child to undergo procedures that require anesthesia.Share on Facebook