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General Anesthesia In Infancy Linked To Higher Risk Of ADHD

Fri, 02/03/2012 - 6:44am
Amanda Gardner

Infants who undergo surgical procedures requiring general anesthesia in their first two years of life may be at increased risk of developing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as they grow older.

A new study of 5,357 children born in Rochester, Minnesota, between 1976 and 1982 found that kids who underwent at least two such surgeries before their second birthday were roughly twice as likely as their peers to develop ADHD by the time they were 19.

Having a single surgical procedure did not appear to increase risk. In this group of infants, 7.3 percent of those with no exposure to anesthesia and 10.7 percent of those with just one exposure went on to develop ADHD -- a difference the researchers deemed to be negligible, statistically speaking.

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