Thinking Out Loud – Anesthesia and Autism


This episode of Thinking Out Loud is dedicated to Lance Joseph Seggelink. May eyes be opened to see. May ears be opened to hear. May “triggers” and “regressions” be halted. May your experience serve a purpose.

Though still in its infancy, Thinking Out Loud has become an exciting project for me.   I’ve gotten to speak with Temple Grandin, Rupert Isaacson, and Andy Cutler, and the roster for future episodes promises equally compelling interviews.   However, I can’t imagine feeling more passionate about a topic than I am about this one.  I also can’t imagine interviewing anyone to whom I would be more indebted.

I am the only co-founder of TMR whose child’s autism was triggered by anesthesia.    My son’s story mimics the all too familiar vaccine-injury stories which seem to be multiplying in droves.  The only difference?  His regression occurred after an elective surgery I will regret the rest of my life.

After learning about the chemical components of anesthesia and how they affect glutathione, methylation, and metabolic pathways, I feel strongly that our ASD community needs education and awareness on the topic.  Why?  Because many of our children will need surgery in their lifetimes.   Many of them will have to be put under for dental procedures.  Is there a way to navigate a necessary chemical exposure so as to minimize side-effects and potential regressions?  Watch as I discuss anesthesia and our ASD children with my hero, Sym Rankin.

Sym C. Rankin, RN, CRNA, is a graduate of the University of Southwestern Louisiana and the Charity Hospital School of Nurse Anesthesia (New Orleans). As a practicing anesthetist for over 25 years, she has witnessed an alarming increase in chronic and autoimmune diseases. Those observations became less academic and more personal after her son was diagnosed with autism.

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Research articles to share with your doctor and anesthesiologist:

“When Propofol is Problematic” – Phil G. Morgan

“When Nitrous Oxide is No Laughing Matter” – Victor C. Baum, MD

The following are FYI and are probably not as useful in a clinical setting.  They may be good to share with friends and family:

Sym Rankin’s original article written for Autism One:
“Anesthesia and the Autistic Child” – Sym Rankin, CRNA

CBS News article

Web MD

Stay tuned for future episodes of  “Thinking Out Loud”.  We look forward to bringing you more information and stories from TMR’s heroes in the field.

~ Tex

* For more blogs by Tex click here. For more Thinking Out Loud videos, please click here

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59 Responses to Thinking Out Loud – Anesthesia and Autism

  1. Chantelle says:

    Hello, my name is Chantelle and my 4 year old daughter had elective squint surgery 24 days ago. She has completely regressed, has undergone such a personality change as to not be the same girl – she has lost words, her confidence, her ability to play alone (she had such an amazing imagination before) and talks mostly about utter gibberish – things that aren’t real. She can’t make eye contact, is anxious and constantly fidgety, has days of near silence, terrifying angry outbursts on other days – and days she is near catatonic. She hasn’t been able to go back to nursery yet. I am due to have another baby in three weeks and am absolutely devastated at what amounts to such a loss in my first born. I am terrified these changes are permanent. I have a paediatric appt. in 2 weeks but in the meantime, can you suggest any further reading or places to look for information? I am glad I found this site, but also so scared after reading here that your child’s changes were permanent, I really feel for you, and of course hope that my daughter recovers yet but want to prepare in case she doesn’t. Today is Christmas Day and she has been unresponsive but happy all day – no excitement and hardly any words all day, just a few smiles out of a girl who was previously a right little chatterbox! I am in the UK and would appreciate any advice or information.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      Chantelle, contact Sym Cusimano Rankin on Facebook as soon as possible. I will tell her you are coming.

      • Sym Rankin says:

        Contact the Anesthesia dept where she had surgery. Ask for a copy of anesthetic record or a list of all drugs given. Tell them what has happened. Unfortunately, anesthesiologists use IV Tylenol in almost every patient. Did your daughter have any delays or any infections before the surgery. Friend me on Facebook and we can talk.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        IV Tylenol????? In-fucking-credible. We’re going to have an article by a Tylenol researcher in the next few days on how bad Tylenol is for children, especially small children. The science is there to indicate that it should NEVER be given to children.

      • Chantelle says:

        Thank you, I have.

      • Beth says:

        My son had the Anesthesia two weeks ago and he has disapeared. His OT is confused. He has no energy and tired all the time but can not sleep. he wakes up screaming and makes weird nosies. the stomps through out the house and runs up and down and can not absorve new information. He is hitting the side of his head and sounds like a robot . he lost the little speech he had. i am exhausted and even thinking of looking into stem cell therapy! Single mother worried alone, no help! what do i do? will get the record of the meds they used and then what do i do? I am in Australia

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        You need to detox as soon as possible! I will see if I can get some folks who have been through it to come by and help.

      • Beth says:


        My son never recovered from having a sluggers in 2017 and now he has to go again to remove tonsils and have grommets. I am scared. Can you suggest a safer combination for anaesthesia for us? Thank you


  2. Tracy says:

    I’m a little late to the game, but THANK YOU for this. Sym is AWESOME! What an amazing resource. I dread the day either myself or my kiddos need to be anesthetized, but if/when it happens – I feel WAY more prepared. <3

  3. Sam says:


    I know this is an old post, but any way to get the information from the power point that gives suggestions for anesthesia? Have a 6 year old that has a cavity that is now painful and close to the root. Unfortunately, it is a molar that he won’t lose soon. Really need some direction. All I can find online is what NOT to use.

    • ProfessorTMR says:

      You want the slides from the PowerPoint? Is that what you’re asking?

      • Sam says:

        Yes, please. Or whatever you used to make your decision for sedation. I am lost as what to do. Thanks!

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        I’ll see if I can get them from Sym Rankin and link them in the post.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        I’m sorry. I came back and discovered that the comment that I wrote was never submitted. I spoke with Sym and she said she has to update the PowerPoint and will be writing a blog for us on the subject in about a month, but in the meantime, she is available through Facebook Her name is Sym Cusimano Rankin, and I told her you would be in touch.

      • Sam says:

        Oh awesome! Thanks for your response and her contact. Really appreciate it. This is a confusing road.

      • Sam says:

        I reached out to her on Friday and am waiting to hear back. Have an appt with another dentist this Thursday at Children’s Dallas because our local dentist only uses nitrous oxide in office. Hoping to get this worked out quickly…This has been stressful. Thanks for responding and everything this blog does to get the word out on options to help our kiddos.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        You’re so welcome. Good luck! Keep us posted.

      • ProfessorTMR says:

        She says she didn’t see it. I’m going to email you her cell phone number, so be on the lookout. Text her to set up a time to talk.

  4. Terri says:

    I’m wondering if you ever posted Sym’s PowerPoint?
    I’m trying to be prepared to have a discussion with my son’s MD.

  5. Pingback: MITOXIC- Why Anesthesia may not be good for any of us, especially Mitochondrial disease Patients | Taking Baby{food}Steps…

  6. hann says:

    Some of the most valuable advice on nutrition as well as dental care that we have found is on the Western Price website and in his book “Nutrition and Physical Degeneration”. My grandson was told he’d need a filling at his next visit so we put him on a course of Blue Pastures fermented cod liver oil and butter and by his next visit he’d grown enough dentine to save the tooth until it was replaced by his 2nd tooth. I hope this helps somebody because it’s so hard to find sensible and practical advice that doesn’t follow the orthodox route.

  7. Stacey says:

    Hello, I’m 18 weeks pregnant and have just been told I need a lumpectomy to remove a suspicious lump in my breast. I will be 21 weeks at the time of the surgery. What are your thoughts on anesthesia and foetal brain development / autism?
    Thank you!

  8. Riley Evans says:

    Extremely exciting piece of writing

  9. Kimberley says:

    Have you ever thought about adding a little bit more than just your articles?
    I mean, what you say is important and all. Nevertheless think of if you added some
    great pictures or video clips to give your posts more, “pop”!
    Your content is excellent but with pics and clips, this blog could certainly be one of the very best in its niche.
    Great blog!

  10. Taralee says:

    Hi Tex! I have a 6 yr old asd daughter. I have believed that her autism was triggered at her birth and from the anaesthetics I was on at the time of the c-section (she’s had no other anasthetics or vaxes). I am currently pregnant and due for another c-section – so I’m hoping for information on what meds would work best for my situation. I know that I have MTHFR as does my daughter. The last anesthesiologist I spoke with didn’t seem to think that the c-section could have had any affect on my daughter. I felt awful with the anesthesia and she screamed and screamed when she was born – like abnormal screaming (she was my 3rd c-section – so I know things didn’t go down like they had for the first 2).

    • Taralee says:

      Apparently I didn’t finish my thoughts there – Do you know where I might be able to find out more info about this? I figured the anesthesiologist I spoke with would be more helpful – but get the impression he thinks I’m one of those ‘crazies’ now that I mentioned it to him.

  11. Thank you for this! Such good info here. So much appreciation to you for compiling it here.

  12. Heather says:


    You mentioned a powerpoint presentation by Sym would be linked, but I do not see it. My son is having a tooth surgically removed and some other dental stuff done while he is under sedation and the anesthesiologist is planning on Ketamine, Propofol and Versed. I think that’s a little much. What say you?


    • Tex says:

      I actually think that mix might be okay. Can you friend me on FB as “Thalia Michelle”? I’ll ask Sym about the PowerPoint. Sorry I saw this so late Heather. 🙁

  13. KERRY SELLERS says:

    My son’s dentist (Thank You Sugah Sugah for the referral) is talking about using something different that only last about twenty minutes. I can’t remember what it’s called though…in Texas

    • Tex says:

      Versed? Possibly. Nitrous might be okay if it’s just a short time. Bring up the points in the interview…. B12, Mito, allergies etc….

    • Tex says:

      WOW!!! Thank you Wow! 🙂 Yes. I was aware – the concerns are mounting. Glad you are sharing. Keep up the good work!

      • WOW says:

        Tex, thks..
        I am stunned, this had gone completely out of my mind. As mentioned, growing up, all parents I was around, really seemed to have this concern in mind. Amazing how it got pushed out.

  14. AmyinCO says:

    I would be interested in learning from people who have had success with dental procedures. My daughter now 12 years old has never had success with a dental cleaning. She needs braces badly. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.

  15. Tex says:

    True. But… given the studies we referenced…. I’d say there’s a good chance the anesthesia contributed. There’s no reason I should believe otherwise. I had a kid who was fine. He went under. He came out of it and no longer had words or eye contact and was never the same. There are numerous studies linking early exposure to anesthesia and developmental delays. Sooooooo….. uhmmmm… why should I *not* believe what I saw??????

    • Melissa Haas says:

      You are the first I have known to have a link to anesthesia. It makes sense. That’s very frightening how you saw that change overnight.

  16. Molly B says:

    Gotta start a hypothesis somewhere though, right?
    The exposure to glutathione depleting chemicals before the onset of glutathione depletion symptomology may be a coincidence or it may be a clue.

  17. Wow says:

    I do realize it is not the same as autism, but here is another article I just came accross expressing concerns re anesthesia and Alzhemier’s

    they seem pretty confident about an association…, again, it makes sense to me re autism..or other neurologic conditions

    • Tex says:

      WOW is right!!

      Thank you for this. I’ll be sure to share.

      • Tex says:

        Karin – yes. You’re right. In the meantime… why not just play it safe and speak with your anesthesiologist about B12 deficiencies and MTFHR and mito issues your kid might have? Better safe than sorry no? That’s all we’re saying here.

  18. Wow says:

    I am in my mid fifties. Back when I was a kid, (within circle of people my folks knew), having Anesthesia for a child/youth was always a very limited choice. Also too for an adult, but mostly for a child. Always put off as long as possible. I can recal many comments stating that they “knew” the child/adult was not the “same” after Anesthesia. And many comments stating examples. Many claimed even if for a quick surgery, the kid would easily take two years to “return to normal function/academic ability/coping”

    As I was an adult, and heard folks discussing some upcomming surgery requiring Anesthesia, I would sometimes mention this “old” concern. Everyone shuffled me off, and laughed that I was hopelessly “out of touch”.

    Luckily there has not been much Anesthesia in my/my family’s life, but I can honestly say, I did not “feel” the same for a long time after.

    I say WoW, because, before reading this, I hadnt come accross an association between Autism/Anesthesia.

    I find this very “timely”, as in the past few months I have run accross several articles stating that Anesthesia has an connection to Alzheimer’s, and other conditions. Personally, that did not surprise me…Neither does it surprise me the association with Autism.

    Sorry to ramble, but, in reading this article, and thinking over how avoiding of Anesthesia folks were when I was a kid, it occurs to me that in the last twenty years, I OFTEN hear of kids getting Anesthesia. It seems to be very very common.

    Makes sense, to me. Would’ve made sense to my Grandmother/Mother.

  19. Melissa Haas says:

    Thanks for posting. Very informative….we are looking at some dental procedures for both girls and the studies are so helpful. I hope to provide to my brother, who is a dentist, and get his perspective.

    • Lynn says:

      re dental procedures…
      some Denstists have special training in using lasers and /or incredibly high speed drills, for drilling out the cavity.

      These work well, as long as you have no metal fill to “drill out”…

      I have had a few fillings myself this way, no freezing.

      • Tex says:

        Unfortunately – some of our kids can’t sit still for ANY of that. My son can barely get his teeth cleaned. A ***large*** percentage of ASD kids simply *have* to go under for dental procedures.

      • Melissa Haas says:

        Good point. I know my brother uses those tools in his practice. Unfortunately, we see braces in both of our girls’ futures (orthodontist) as they BOTH (identical twins) have what’s known in a very untechnical way as “shark teeth”, with an adult tooth erupting behind the others. (I was hoping they’d inherit my husbands nice, naturally straight teeth but unfortunately it seems they are getting it from me!). Has anyone done braces with these kiddos? I am nervous about it all because I know this subject will come up since they don’t have a simple overbite or something. Hopeful the ortho will be open to talk to me about it. Good tips from Sym.

    • Tex says:

      WOW! I’d LOVE to hear what he has to say!!! Please find me and share his feedback!!!

      • Lynn says:

        re “son can barely get his teeth cleaned”…
        Can I suggest that “Teeth Cleaning” is one of the tougher things for anyone, expecially someone who is hypersensitive to endure?…
        The scraping and vibrations and nosie generated are not understood by someone without hyper acute sensory. That scraping on teeth is very unpleasant, and transmits from the tooth to the bones in the ear, etc… — try putting a fork on your tooth, and pinging it with a heavier table knife…can’t you feel it in your ear? Not nice.

        When you said you wanted to hear more, were you talking about the Dental stuff?

      • Melissa Haas says:

        I am interested too, Tex. I consider him to be very conscientious and proactive so I look forward to having a long convo.

      • Melissa Haas says:

        Will do!

      • Tex says:


        I meant I want to hear what Melissa’s brother has to say after she speaks with him about his concerns.

        Yes – teeth cleaning is a big deal with all the vibrations and everything else, but honestly – even looking into my son’s mouth is tricky. He just doesn’t like opening his mouth for people. He had to go under for a dental procedure. It went really well b/c I took Sym’s advice. No big deal at all. A large percentage of our kids will simply have to go under. Not ideal and certainly we want to avoid it if we can. We talk about that in the interview. Truth remains though – A lot of these kids cannot endure intensive dental procedures without going under. They can’t sit still or won’t open their mouths or whatever the issue may be. The higher functioning kids probably can do a lot without general anesthetic, but there’s a good percentage of our kids who can’t. That’s all I’m saying.

  20. Laura Hayes says:


    Thank you for bringing up this important topic that is not discussed often enough. Our 19 y-o son, diagnosed with “autism,” suffered MAJOR regressions following anesthesia when he was 12 months, 15 months, 4 yrs. and 14 yrs. The horrible domino effect of toxic vaccines, destructive anesthesia, and gut-damaging antibiotics led to the demise of his health, resulting in severe “autism.” It pains me to think about all that we allowed to be done to him.

    The first 2 rounds of anesthesia could have been delayed until he was 5 yrs. old or so (hand surgeries, not urgent). His 3rd round was when he participated in a study and had an MRI (wish we hadn’t participated). He had 2 more rounds at age 14 for oral surgery (his 2 upper canines were very impacted in his sinus area; first surgery not successful, needed a 2nd one just 2 short weeks later…ARGH!). Knowing now what we know about how he regresses post-anesthesia, not sure what we’d do about bringing the teeth down out of his sinus cavity if we had it to do again. Probably work with an anesthesiologist who understood the problems of putting someone like our son under for surgery. We have chosen not to have his wisdom teeth removed, and recently, we have chosen not to have surgery for a pilonaidal cyst that has emerged.

    In hindsight, the anesthesia that was given within days of his 12-month and 15-month vaccinations was a near-lethal combination. He was never the same, and his vaccines at 18 months of age nearly killed him. No doubt, he was still suffering from previous assaults, and the vaccines at 18 months added gallons of fuel to an already-raging fire.

    Were we to do it all over again, with the hard-earned knowledge we have gained over the years, he would receive no vaccines, ever. His hand surgeries would have been delayed until he was older. Those 2 choices would have had the added benefit of keeping him antibiotic-free, too, in his early years. Sadly, those choices have been made, and can’t be undone. However, we can and do warn others by sharing our story, hoping they will have the ears to hear.

    Thank you for bringing attention to this often-overlooked issue.

    • Tex says:

      Thank you for sharing your story Laura. Breaks my heart. 🙁 Please share this interview and let’s raise awareness. There’s a better way to handle *necessary* procedures and parents need to really think twice about the ones that are elective. Hang in there mama. Remember – we **CAN** recover these kids. We can undo what has been done. KEEP DIGGIN!!!! <3 Tex

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