Anesthesia at early age may lead to learning delays

August 20, 2012 2:10:07 PM PDT
Anesthesia at an early age may raise a child's risk of learning delays, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics.

Children under the age of 3 who had anesthesia during even one surgical procedure tested lower in language and reasoning tests as 10-year-olds. That is based on data from nearly 3,000 children in Australia.

However, experts say parents should not delay potentially life-saving surgical or diagnostic procedures.

Researchers say this study is observational, so it is impossible to prove that anesthesia alone is the cause.