Editorial Views  |   December 2016
Anesthesia Kills Brain Cells, but What Does It Mean?
Author Notes
  • From the University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California.
  • Corresponding article on page 1159.
    Corresponding article on page 1159.×
  • Accepted for publication August 18, 2016.
    Accepted for publication August 18, 2016.×
  • Address correspondence to Dr. Sall: jeffrey.sall@ucsf.edu
Article Information
Editorial Views / Central and Peripheral Nervous Systems / Geriatric Anesthesia / Pediatric Anesthesia / Pharmacology
Editorial Views   |   December 2016
Anesthesia Kills Brain Cells, but What Does It Mean?
Anesthesiology 12 2016, Vol.125, 1090-1091. doi:10.1097/ALN.0000000000001359
Anesthesiology 12 2016, Vol.125, 1090-1091. doi:10.1097/ALN.0000000000001359
THE possibility of neurocognitive dysfunction after early exposure to anesthesia is an area of concern for anesthesiologists. Two recent clinical trials (“General Anaesthesia and Awake-Regional Anaesthesia in Infancy” [GAS] and “Pediatric Anesthesia Neurodevelopment Assessment” [PANDA]) suggest that shorter exposures to anesthesia do not lead to severe deficits in young children; however, it remains less clear whether longer exposures are safe and whether examination of children at an older age using tools specific for other cognitive domains might reveal deficits like those reported in previous retrospective studies. The mechanism that leads to deficits with longer exposures and the age range in which animals (and possibly children) are susceptible is an active area of both preclinical and clinical research. The article by Jiang et al.1  in this issue of Anesthesiology builds on excellent work they have published previously to take a more in-depth look at one of the most common outcomes reported after early anesthesia exposure—brain cell death.
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