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General anaesthetic in children linked to arrested development

A study of more than 210,000 children has found that those exposed to general anaesthesia before the age of four were more likely to fare worse at school than their unexposed peers.

Child Anaesthetic iStock

Researchers from the University of Sydney found that children who had undergone general anaesthetic were 17% more likely to display poor child development. In addition, they found that 34% were more likely to score lower numeracy scores on school tests and had a 23% increased risk of lower reading scores.

The research, published in Pediatric Anesthesia, showed that children who had only one such hospitalisation were not at risk of poor development or reduced reading scores, although the risk of poor numeracy scores remained.

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Picture credit | iStock

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