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BMC receives National Institutes of Health grant to study intrauterine cocaine and substance reslience

(Boston) Deborah A. Frank, MD, the Director of the Grow Clinic for Children at Boston Medical Center (BMC) and a Professor of Pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM), has received a 5-year, $3.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the long-term impacts of intrauterine cocaine exposure (IUCE) and intrauterine substance exposure (IUSE).

The project, entitled Prenatal Cocaine Exposure: Young Adult Follow-Up, will examine resilience among young adults who had IUSE. Resilience evolves from person-environment interactions, which may buffer the impact of biologic and social risks.

The multidisciplinary, longitudinal study will look at 140-150 urban participants between the ages of 18- 24 who, along with their caregivers, have been monitored since birth for their exposure to violence and material hardship. The incarceration rates of participants' parents, exposure to discrimination, as well as the participants' ability to have a positive ethnic identity and quality young adult intimate relationships, have also been recorded.

Focusing on both environmental and biological factors, Frank and her colleagues will analyze the resilience of the participants and their ability to beat the odds despite negative circumstances.

"Many Americans have experienced intrauterine exposures to psychoactive substances, which may put them at an increased risk for difficult life circumstances," said Frank, principal investigator on this grant. "We are working to identify the factors that can foster resilience, which could yield important public health interventions."


Contact: Jenny Eriksen
Boston University Medical Center

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