Anaesthesia, Pain & Intensive Care, 2014.
Rudrashish Haldar, Sukhminder Jit Singh Bajwa.


Development of neurotoxicity in infants and children who had been exposed to general anesthetics has garnered attention in recent times and sparked vigorous debates. The effects range from learning disability, cognitive defects to development of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease in later life. Theories to explain these changes are calcium dysregulation leading to apoptosis, altered neurogenesis, accumulation of degenerative proteins like β amyloid and many others. A large volume of literature has accumulated in the form of animal and human studies which have implicated general anesthetic drugs like ketamine, propofol, volatile agents, and benzodiazepines in the development of neurodegenerative conditions in later life. These studies being retrospective are associated with a good deal of methodological flaws. Hence a direct cause effect relationship is yet to be firmly established. In the present scenario, it would be prudent for the anaesthesiologists, to be aware of the possible existence of such an association. In the meantime, further research and evidence in this arena is demanded.

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