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You are here : 3-RX.com > Home > Psychiatry / Psychology -

Prenatal Exposure to Cocaine, Alcohol, Tobacco All Affect Children’s Behavior

Psychiatry / PsychologyMay 01, 06

Children exposed to cocaine in the womb are more likely to grow up with behavior problems -  but so are those with prenatal exposure to legal substances such as alcohol and tobacco. These are the findings of a research paper by Dr. Henrietta S. Bada, chief, Division of Neonatology, professor of pediatrics, UK College of Medicine, and professor, UK School of Public Health, presented at the 2006 Annual Meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies in San Francisco today.

When Bada and co-investigators from Brown University, University of Miami, University of Tennessee, Wayne State University, and Research Triangle Institute began their research, the effect of prenatal cocaine exposure on the behavior of children was unclear. With the presentation of Bada’s paper, “Prenatal Cocaine Exposure and Trajectories of Childhood Behavior Problems Through Age Nine Years,” scientists have more insight into how drug use by mothers can affect children later in life.

The nine-year study found that even adjusting for factors such as socioeconomic status, home environment, caretaker depression and other prenatal drug exposures, the trajectory of behavior outcomes for children exposed to cocaine during fetal development differed significantly across three categories—external, internal and total behavior problems—from those for children not exposed.

Children exposed to prenatal tobacco use suffered similar problems across all three categories. Prenatal alcohol exposure was found to impact external and total behavior problems. Additional behavioral effects, which became more evident with time, were noted from the caretaker’s continuing use of tobacco and alcohol after birth.

The study was funded by the NICHD Neonatal Research Network and National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institutes of Health. For more information on Bada’s work, visit http://www.ukhealthcare.uky.edu/kch/physicians/bada.htm.

In striving to become a Top 20 public research institution, the University of Kentucky is a catalyst for a new Commonwealth -  a Kentucky that is healthier, better educated, and positioned to compete in a global and changing economy. For more information about UK’s efforts to become a Top 20 university, please go to http://www.uky.edu/OPBPA/Top20.html

The Pediatric Academic Societies (PAS) Annual Meeting is the largest international meeting that focuses on research in child health. The PAS consists of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Ambulatory Pediatric Association, American Pediatric Society, and Society for Pediatric Research.

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