Being put under anesthesia as an infant may make it harder for a person to recall details or events when they grow older.
Previous studies on animals had shown that anesthesia impairs parts of the brain that help with recollection. But it was not clear how this type of temporary loss of consciousness affected humans. Comparing the memory of 28 children ages 6 to 11 who had undergone anesthesia as infants to 28 children similar in age who had not been put under suggests that the early treatment impairs recollection later in life, researchers report June 9 in Neuropsychopharmacology.
The team reported similar results for a small study on rats and notes that early anesthesia did not appear to affect the children's familiarity with objects and events or their IQ.