Can Anesthesia Cause ADHD?

How surgery may affect children's behavior

Any operation involves risks, but the hazards for the youngest surgical patients may last longer than doctors thought. After analyzing the health records of 5,357 children, researchers found that those who had undergone two or more surgeries by the time they were 2 years old were twice as likely to be diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) by age 19 as children who had had only one surgical procedure.

The researchers suggest that one reason for the higher rates of ADHD may be anesthesia. Shutting down a child's brain, even temporarily and under controlled conditions, could interfere enough with the normal development...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!