The Anesthesia Dilemma

Researchers are trying to determine if chemicals used to knock out young children during surgery can have long-term repercussions on memory and development. Anesthetics are powerful modulators of neurotransmission, or communication between neural cells, so the idea that early exposure to these chemicals may alter brain development does not seem far-fetched. Moreover, anesthesia exposure in animals has been linked to long-term learning and memory problems for almost all commonly used anesthetics.