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Study Shows Inhaled Anesthesia Affects Children’s Brains More Than Intravenous Anesthetic

Posted Oct 26 2012 10:37pm

Stony Brook University School of Medicine researchers have found that children’s brains are more affected by an inhaled anesthetic than an intravenous anesthetic with increased levels of brain lactate. Lactate increases brain activation and may lead to metabolic changes associated with anxiety and delirium. Reported in the November issue of Anesthesiology, the findings provide new clues to metabolic changes within the brains of children undergoing anesthesia and could help researchers understand why general anesthesia may be potentially harmful to the developing brain.

In “Metabolomic Profiling of Children’s Brains Undergoing General Anesthesia with Sevoflurane and Propofol,” 59 children ages two-to-seven years old were administered one of two routinely used anesthetics for an MRI procedure. One group received sevoflurane (inhaled) and the other received propofol (intravenous). The parietal cortex of the children’s brains was imaged one hour after being administered anesthesia.


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