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Effects of TV, Drug Exposures in Early Life May Be Long-Lasting
Date:5/3/2010

mmended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (which is no TV till age 2, then no more than 2 hours of "quality programming" a day).

"Yet they still found significant impacts on later functioning, which makes me think that maybe the recommendations need to be pulled up to no TV under the age of 3 or 4," he said.

The second study found that pregnant mom's use of antidepressants called SSRIs [selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, such as Paxil, Prozac or Zoloft] as well as mothers' moods when the child was 3 correlated to anxious and depressive behavior in those young children.

"This doesn't mean that all children exposed to SSRIs while still in the womb are at an increased risk, only that some exposed children are, and at this point we don't know why," said study lead author Dr. Tim Oberlander, professor of developmental pediatrics at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. "None of which is to say that pregnant women should not be treated for depression. All mothers need to be treated -- just we have a lot to learn about who can benefit from pharmacological treatment with an SSRI."

"Given that we know that early exposure to stressful life experiences can set up a life time risk for poor mental health, our findings should also remind us that one of our greatest public health challenges remains the need to find ways to reduce early life stress," he added. "Just like we can vaccinate against infectious illnesses, why can't we 'inoculate' children against adverse effects of early life stress?"

Another study found that prenatal exposure to nicotine - although not to cocaine, opiates, marijuana or alcohol - was associated with sleep problems during the first 12 years of the child's life.

"Together, the two studies [on SSRIs and nicotine] suggest continued focus on the complexity of maternal-child bonding and interactions," Kotrla said. "Identifying concrete risk factors -- nicotine, [genetic] vari
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