Over the past two decades there has been an increase in reports of attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder and perhaps autism spectrum disorder that appear to coincide with a substantial number of general anaesthesia interventions during early stages of human brain development. Is there a link between anaesthesia exposure and neurocognitive effects considering the growing body of evidence in numerous animal species, including humans, that suggests long-lasting socio-affective behavioural impairments after early exposure to general anaesthesia? Could routinely used general anaesthetics contribute as environmental toxins? Here we present the case that this notion is worthy of further consideration.

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Jevtovic-Todorovic & Useinovic
British Journal of Anaesthesia May 2023