In DepthBiomedical Research

Researchers struggle to gauge risks of childhood anesthesia

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Science  05 Dec 2014:
Vol. 346, Issue 6214, pp. 1161-1162
DOI: 10.1126/science.346.6214.1161

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Concerns about the neurological risks of anesthesia in young children have reached a tipping point, as numerous animal studies have associated common anesthetics with impaired brain development. At a meeting of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA's) science advisory board last month, researchers and regulators considered several moves to address the concerns: a clinical trial of anesthetics in children, a consensus statement about their possible risks, and maybe even an FDA warning label on certain drugs. But many involved in the issue are reluctant to make recommendations to parents and physicians based on animal data alone, and more direct studies of anesthesia's risks in children are plagued by confounding factors, lack of funding, and ethical issues.

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