A team of researchers from the Mayo Clinic Children's Center are trying to answer that question. From what they can tell from animal studies, it may cause problems with learning and memory. They've conducted a study of records -- both medical and school records - in the area around Rochester, Minn. There was some correlation: an association with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorder for some children who'd been exposed to anesthesia multiple times at a young age.
But as we know, correlation does not mean causation. So they are now working on a much larger and detailed study to test 1000 children to see if they can better define what injury or injuries may be associated with anesthetic exposure (if any).
Ultimately they hope to find if there is a problem with how anesthesia is administered or if changes are needed to minimize potential problems. It's one more way Mayo Clinic is trying to improve safety of the medical practice and share its findings with everyone.
If you, as a parent, are interested in having your child participate in this study -- and you live in the Rochester, Minn. area, you may be interested in learning more about it from this YouTube video: