Further Research Needed to Monitor Anesthetics Impact on Children's Brains

TORONTO, March 3, 2015 /CNW/ - The Canadian Anesthesiologists' Society (CAS) 2006 Research Recognition Award winner, Dr Beverley Orser, and a group of anesthesiologists and toxicologists have published an article in the New England Journal of Medicine about the use of general anesthetics in children. 

Animal studies provided evidence of brain injury and long-term behavioral deficits. Previous observational studies of children suggested a correlation between children who had received anesthetics and long-term cognitive impairments such as learning disabilities. Children between the ages of one and three appeared to be at a higher risk of adverse effects.

"The next step is to start targeted large clinical trials," said Dr Orser.  "That's the only way we can determine if or how these drugs are having an impact on a child's developing brain."

Much more research is needed to hone in on the question of whether the increased risk of cognitive deficits seen in some studies is truly a result of the anesthetic medications or due to another reason entirely.

Dr Susan O'Leary, CAS President, agrees with Dr Orser's statement: "Anesthetics are generally assumed to be safe for children, and are important for conducting life-saving or other essential procedures."

SOURCE Canadian Anesthesiologists' Society

For further information: Mr Stanley Mandarich, CAS Executive Director, (416) 480 - 0602 ext. 14, director@cas.ca


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