Thursday, March 17, 2011

Panel to Probe Anesthesia Link to Brain Formation
By Emily P. Walker, Washington Correspondent, MedPage Today
Published: March 09, 2011

A possible link between exposure to anesthesia and brain development in young children is the subject of both an FDA panel meeting on Thursday and an article written in a major medical journal by agency officials.

"We need to definitively answer the questions of whether anesthetic use in children poses a risk to their development and, if so, under what circumstances," Bob Rappaport, MD, who heads the FDA's anesthesia and analgesia products, and colleagues wrote in a Perspective article published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

In the past decade, a growing number of studies have shown that exposure to anesthesia appears linked to neuroapoptosis, or cell suicide, in the brains of young rats and monkeys.

How that applies to humans is still unclear, but a 2009 epidemiological study found a link between the number of exposures to anesthesia during early childhood and an increased incidence of learning disabilities. In the retrospective cohort study, children with two exposures to anesthesia before age 4 were 59% more likely than unexposed children to be diagnosed with learning disabilities.

Read the rest of the article here.

No comments: