FDA to study anesthesia in young kids

March 16, 2009

The SAFEKIDS Initiative is a cleverly-named program with a wholly positive goal: to determine the effects of sedatives and anesthetics in the developmental skills of very young children.

The SAFEKIDS Initiative is a cleverly-named program with a wholly positive goal: to determine the effects of sedatives and anesthetics in the developmental skills of very young children.

SAFEKIDS (Safety of Key Inhaled and Intravenous Drugs in Pediatrics) is a project of the Food and Drug Administration, who will partner with five hospitals or research groups. They will measure what the long-term effects are for infants and children who undergo sedatives or generalized anesthesia.

Working together on the project are Cleveland’s International Anesthesia Research Society; Boston’s Children’s Hospital of Harvard University, the Mayo Clinic of Rochester, Minn.; New York’s Columbia University; and the Arkansas Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Little Rock, Ark. Each will gather data from a different aspect of the study: the Mayo Clinic, for instance, is focusing on the long-term cognitive effects of exposure to general anesthesia to infants. Columbia is focusing more on emotional and behavioral outcomes.

The National Center for Toxicological Research will also be collaborating, conducting animal trials to see how young animals do with the same drugs infants and children get. NCTR will also develop noninvasive ways to image the brain for possible structural changes.