Children may require general anaesthesia for surgical procedures, diagnostic imaging, dental treatment, and minor diagnostic procedures. It is estimated that 5% of Western Australian children will require a general anaesthetic each year. Over the past 25 years, the use of general anaesthesia in children has increased greatly, and is predicted that this will continue to increase as new diagnostic and surgical techniques are developed. The long-term neurodevelopmental effects of general anaesthesia on infants and children are currently unknown.


The Raine Cohort offers a unique opportunity to investigate the relationship between early exposure to surgery and anaesthesia, and the possibility of developmental delay in childhood or adolescence.  This research may also lead to the identification of the safest anaesthetic agents for use in infants and children. The benefits of investigating this relationship in the Raine Cohort are its prospective and longitudinal design, large and representative cohort, excellent retention rate and very detailed data collection. These data, coupled with the broad range of neurodevelopmental measures collected in later childhood, facilitate the investigation the relationship between childhood anaesthetic exposure and developmental outcomes.


Research Team

W/Professor Britta Regli Von Ungern Sternberg MD PhD FRANZCA

Dr Mary Hegarty MBBS FRANZCA

W/Professor Andrew Whitehouse PhD


A/Professor Andrew Davidson

Dr Kelly Howard

Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne


Professor Peter Sly PhD MD FRACP

Queensland Institute of Child Health


A/Professor Caleb Ing

Professor Lena Sun

A/Professor Charles DiMaggio

Professor Guohua Li

Columbia University, College of Physician and Surgeons



  • SmartTots Research Grant International Research Society IARS, Anaesthetic Exposure Duration and Effects on Cognitive Language Ability, $100,000
  • ANZCA Project grant, $30,000