Navigation Links
Your baby's brain on drugs (and alcohol and tobacco)
Date:4/7/2008

Although behavioral studies clearly indicate that exposure to drugs, alcohol and tobacco in utero is bad for a babys developing brain, specific anatomic brain effects have been hard to tease out in humans. Often users dont limit themselves to one substance, and demographic factors like poverty can also influence brain development.

Now, an NIH-funded study using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) brain scans, led by Childrens Hospital Boston neurologist Michael Rivkin, MD, suggests that prenatal exposure to cocaine, alcohol, marijuana or tobacco (alone or in combination) may have effects on brain structure that persist into early adolescence. The findings, published in the April issue of Pediatrics, are of public health significance, the researchers say, since its estimated that more than 1 million babies born annually in the United States have been exposed to at least one of these agents in utero.

Researchers at Childrens and Boston Medical Center employed volumetric MRI imaging to study the brain structure of 35 young adolescents prenatally exposed to cocaine, marijuana, alcohol or tobacco. The children, who averaged 12 years old at the time of imaging, were part of part of an historic cohort of children assembled by Deborah Frank, MD at Boston Medical Center and followed there since birth. Prenatal exposures were confirmed by a combination of maternal history, urine testing of the mother or urine or meconium (stool) testing of the infants at birth.

We found that reductions in cortical gray matter and total brain volumes were associated with prenatal exposure to cocaine, alcohol or cigarettes, says Rivkin, who is first author on the study. Importantly, although volume reductions were associated with each of these three prenatal exposures, they were not associated with any one of these substances alone after controlling for other exposures.

Notably, the effects were found to be additive the more substances a child was exposed to in utero, the greater the reduction in brain volume.

Rivkin notes that the study is also the first to document joint long-term neuroanatomic effects on the brain of prenatal cocaine, cigarette and alcohol exposures. Moreover, while previous studies have documented brain effects of prenatal alcohol exposure, these studies were mostly limited to children with fetal alcohol syndrome, a diagnosis that was excluded in the current study.

Although investigators initially set out to study cocaine exposure, they were struck by the finding of brain effects of prenatal tobacco exposure. Approximately 20 percent of women who smoke continue to smoke during pregnancy, Rivkin says. From the vantage point of preventive health care, it is important to determine the consequences on brain structure of prenatal exposure to cigarettes, alone and in combination with other substances.

Rivkin emphasizes that the number of children studied was too small to find statistically significant effects of single substances after controlling for exposure to other agents. The study was also too small to consider the effects of different levels of exposure. But the overall results are highly suggestive. Were hopeful to be able to study the whole sample of 150 children followed at Boston Medical Center, which will permit such determinations, Rivkin says.

Both investigators concur that health care providers should offer pregnant women comprehensive care to help them reduce use of all psychoactive substances. Public health campaigns should not ignore the risks of some substances while focusing on others, as it may well be that the greater the number of total prenatal exposures, the higher the chance there will be adverse and lasting consequences for the developing brain.


'/>"/>

Contact: James Newton
james.newton@childrens.harvard.edu
617-919-3110
Children's Hospital Boston
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Invasion of the brain tumors
2. HIV is a double hit to the brain
3. AIDS interferes with stem cells in the brain
4. 60 second test could help early diagnosis of common brain diseases
5. U of MN researchers discover noninvasive diagnostic tool for brain diseases
6. U of Minnesota researchers discover noninvasive diagnostic tool for brain diseases
7. Influence of sex and handedness on brain is similar in capuchin monkeys and humans
8. Inside the brain of a crayfish
9. Specific brain protein required for nerve cell connections to form and function
10. Brains timing linked with timescales of the natural visual world
11. Adult brain can change, study confirms
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Your baby's brain on drugs (and alcohol and tobacco)
(Date:2/10/2017)... -- Research and Markets has announced the ... Scientific and Commercial Aspects" to their offering. ... Biomarkers play ... therapy for selection of treatment as well for monitoring the ... disease in modern medicine. Biochip/microarray technologies and next generation sequencing ...
(Date:2/8/2017)... Feb. 7, 2017 Report Highlights ... The global synthetic-biology market ... billion by 2021, growing at a compound annual growth rate ... overview of the global markets for synthetic biology. - Analyses ... 2016, and projections of compound annual growth rates (CAGRs) through ...
(Date:2/7/2017)... , Feb. 7, 2017 Zimmer Biomet ... in musculoskeletal healthcare, will present at the LEERINK Partners ... York Palace Hotel on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at ... webcast of the presentation can be accessed at ... following the conference via Zimmer Biomet,s Investor Relations website ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/18/2017)... -- Research and Markets has announced the addition of ... their offering. ... The report provides separate comprehensive analytics for the US, ... World. Annual estimates and forecasts are provided for the period 2015 ... markets. Market data and analytics are derived from primary and secondary ...
(Date:2/17/2017)... ... February 17, 2017 , ... Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA), ... maker of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), are launching a joint program to promote ... and support educational outreach efforts. , AMA and DJI will collaborate on other ...
(Date:2/16/2017)... , Feb. 16, 2017  ImMAGE Biotherapeutics (OTCMKTS: IMMG), an ... to find a better treatment for triple negative breast cancer ... France program. The YEi ... accelerator designed to help entrepreneurs grow their business in ... of eight American companies selected to complete an intensive one ...
(Date:2/16/2017)... DUBLIN , Feb. 16, 2017 ... the "Synthetic Biology: Global Markets" report to ... ... synthetic-biology products (synthetic genes, biobrick parts, delivery plasmids, chassis ... DNA synthesis and assembly, genome editing, bioinformatics and specialty ...
Breaking Biology Technology: