Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Cocaine - Prenatal Exposure

A New York Times story, "'Crack Babies': An Epidemic That Didn't Happen" (January 27, 2009) gives good news on this topic. Children ages 4 - 13 who had prenatal exposure to cocaine have recovered from initial slow growth (both body and brain) and show no statistically significant difference in IQ. As a group, they are more likely to have decreased visual attention and executive function. They also have an increased frequency of defiant behavior and poor conduct. However, their symptoms are so subtle as to make it impossible to pick them out of a group of typical children. It appears that prenatal exposure to cocaine is similar in effect to that of tobacco, and thankfully, not at all similar to the effect of alcohol.

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