Effects of Cocaine Exposure in the womb
Children exposed to cocaine face serious consequences from the belly of the drug, but fortunately not in certain critical areas physical and cognitive, as previously thought, according to an exhaustive review of research on the subject of scientific University of Maryland School of Medicine. When a pregnant woman uses cocaine, you can interrupt the flow of nutrients and oxygen to the baby, putting those children at risk of premature birth, low birth weight and many other problems.
The new revision of several major studies carried out on cocaine-exposed, schoolchildren found this negative impact of children affected significantly in subtle areas such as sustained attention and self-regulation of behavior. The research, however, showed surprisingly little direct damage from cocaine in key areas such as growth, IQ, academic achievement and language functioning.
Many of the children had a low IQ and poor academic achievement of language. Research suggests, however, apparent that these alterations were often caused by problematic home environment that goes along with cocaine, rather than directly from the cocaine itself.
The areas of development that exposure to cocaine seemed a direct impact – sustained attention and behavioral self-regulation – could be much more problematic, as children become adults. The review is published this month in the journal Pediatrics. It is the first review of the cocaine-exposed school children below six years in a previous review looked at the younger children.
When rates of cocaine use began to grow in the U.S. in the 1980s, there was concern that children were exposed to the drug or its derivative, crack cocaine, in utero were convicted of a lifetime of poor health, sub-par school performance, behavioral problems and possibly substance abuse themselves. The new review otherwise noted, and could change the way medicine and social science approach to the dissemination and study of children exposed to cocaine, according to lead author Maureen M. Black, Ph.D., professor of pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.
“Cocaine can impair fetal growth and development, but this review tells us that just because a child has been exposed to cocaine, is not a foregone conclusion that they will be in trouble,” says Dr. Black. “Nobody is saying that cocaine is good. We need prevention programs for women cocaine in the first place. The children suffer serious negative effects of drug exposure in utero. It seems, however, as if Cocaine does not work alone. Women who use cocaine are often poor and dysfunctional families where children do not receive the attention and enrichment they need. In addition, women who use cocaine during pregnancy are smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol thus exposing their unborn children to legal substances with extremely negative consequences. ”
Dr. Black and colleagues reviewed 32 major studies of school children, six through his teenage years, conducted between 1980 and 2008. All studies compared children who had been exposed to cocaine for which no. The Black and postdoctoral fellows Dr. John P. Ackerman, Ph.D., and Tracy Riggins, Ph.D., aggregated data and graphs organized in comparison to healthy children who were exposed to cocaine.
The areas where the children showed a significant negative impact of cocaine – sustained attention and behavioral self-regulation – could lead to serious problems for children in adolescence or adulthood. “They may have difficulty with impulse control and they might take risks,” says Dr. Black. “They may be more likely to be involved with drugs themselves.” Innovative techniques, including neuroimaging techniques, have suggested that the effects of cocaine exposure specific brain structures and functions. Children exposed to cocaine seem to be differences in the area, both white and gray, for example.
The results suggest that prevention efforts must continue to focus on reducing drug use among women, especially during pregnancy, but such outreach should continue after birth. Education and support to help physicians improve the child’s environment can be very beneficial for children exposed to cocaine, Dr. Black says. Research will continue to examine specific areas of the brain that may be vulnerable to cocaine exposure, hoping to link the neural differences with the results of behavior.
A review is an effective way to examine the broader picture of a public health problem, beyond a single study, says Dr. Black. A review is particularly useful in a research field that has not existed for a long time, such as the study of children exposed to cocaine. “If you have the results of a single study can not be sure of its significance until the study is replicated,” says Dr. Black. “The benefit of a review is taking what is in the literature as a whole, the board and tries to make sense.”
“Review, Dr. Black has discovered a whole new way to think about these most vulnerable victims of substance abuse, children exposed to drugs before birth,” says E. Albert Reece, MD, Ph.D., MBA, Z. John and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and dean of the Faculty of Medicine and vice president of medical affairs at the University of Maryland. “I hope their work will lead to new interventions to prevent prenatal cocaine exposure in the output, and to ensure the success of these children to benefit their own health and public health as a whole”.
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