In 1981, a startling article was published in Anesthesia& Analgesia: “Exposure to Halothane and Enflurane Affects Learning Function of Murine Progeny.” The study found that adolescent mice that had been exposed in utero to halothane or enflurane anesthesia had markedly impaired maze learning compared with unexposed controls. Decades before the discovery of epigenetics, the article even showed that, in some cases, impairments were also found in the next generation. The authors proposed further research to explore the relevance of their findings to anesthesia in humans. The article was, however, largely ignored and the authors’ proposal not pursued.
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