Navigation Links
Exposure to cortisol-like medications before birth may contribute to emotional problems and brain changes

Philadelphia, PA, October 31, 2013 Neonatologists seem to perform miracles in the fight to support the survival of babies born prematurely.

To promote their survival, cortisol-like drugs called glucocorticoids are administered frequently to women in preterm labor to accelerate their babies' lung maturation prior to birth. Cortisol is a substance naturally released by the body when stressed. But the levels of glucocorticoids administered to promote lung development are higher than that achieved with typical stress, perhaps only mirrored in the body's reaction to extreme stresses.

The benefit of glucocorticoids is undisputed and has certainly saved the lives of countless babies, but this exposure also may have some negative consequences. Indeed, excessive glucocorticoid levels may have effects on brain development, perhaps contributing to emotional problems later in life.

In this issue of Biological Psychiatry, Dr. Elysia Davis at the University of Denver and her colleagues report new findings on the effects of synthetic glucocorticoid on human brain development. Their study focused on healthy children who were born full-term, avoiding the confounding effects of premature birth.

The investigators conducted brain imaging sessions in and carefully assessed 54 children, 6-10 years of age. The mothers of the participating children also completed reports on their child's behavior. The researchers then divided the children into two groups: those who were exposed to glucocorticoids prenatally and those who were not.

In this study, children with fetal glucocorticoid exposure showed significant cortical thinning, and a thinner cortex also predicted more emotional problems. In one particularly affected part of the brain, the rostral anterior cingulate cortex, it was 8-9% thinner among children exposed to glucocorticoids. Interestingly, other studies have shown that this region of the brain is affected in individuals diagnosed with mood and anxiety disorders.

"Fetal exposure to a frequently administered stress hormone is associated with consequences for child brain development that persist for at least 6 to 10 years. These neurological changes are associated with increased risk for stress and emotional problems," Davis explained of their findings. "Importantly, these findings were observed among healthy children born full term."

Although such a finding does not indicate that glucocorticoids 'caused' these changes, the researchers did determine that the findings can't be explained by any obvious confounding differences between the groups. The two groups did not differ on weight or gestational age at birth, apgar scores, maternal factors, or any other basic demographics. Thus, the findings do suggest that glucocorticoid administration may somehow alter the trajectory of brain development of exposed children.

"This study provides evidence that prenatal exposure to stress hormones shapes the construction of the fetal nervous system with consequences for the developing brain that persist into the preadolescent period," she added.

"This study highlights potential links between early cortisol exposure, cortical thinning and mood symptoms in children. It may provide important insights into the development of the brain and the long-term impact of maternal stress," commented Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry.


Contact: Rhiannon Bugno

Related medicine news :

1. Male birth defect is weakly linked to pesticide exposure, Stanford-led study finds
2. New study on neurodevelopmental effects of prenatal exposure to paracetamol
3. DuPont C8 Lawsuits Alleging Kidney Cancer Due to Exposure to C8 Tainted Water From DuPont's Washington Works Plant Being Investigated by Wright & Schulte LLC
4. Canton, Michigan is About to Get National Exposure
5. Cocaine exposure in the womb: The brain structure is intact but development is off track
6. A single mild blast exposure can cause brain injuries with similarities to Alzheimers disease
7. “Leading Edge” Hosted by Jimmy Johnson Informs the Audience on the Dangers of Overexposure to the Sun
8. Exposure/ritual prevention therapy boosts antidepressant treatment of OCD
9. Judge Allows Take-Home Exposure Asbestos Lawsuit to Move Forward
10. Too Much Sunlight Exposure Can Burn Your Eyes - The Pennsylvania Association for the Blind Offers Prevention Suggestions
11. 7 Cell Phone Tips for Lowering EMF Radiation Exposure
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/28/2015)... ... 2015 , ... Pixel Film Studios is back again with ProPanel: Pulse ... are endless. Users have full control over angle of view, speed method, start point, ... sure to get heads to turn. , ProPanel: Pulse offers fully customizable pulsating shape ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... According to an article ... way that they are handling security in light of the recent terrorist attacks in ... an attempt to stop an attack from reaching U.S. soil. Especially around special events ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... were," said an inventor from Hillside, N.J. "Many people catch diseases simply from ... that individuals will always be protected from germs." , He developed the patent-pending ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... ... Herpes-only dating community in the world, revealed that over 50% of its members are under ... under the age of 50 – or 67% of the population - are infected with ... infection . , "The data shocks us highly!" said Michelle Li, Co-Founder of the ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 ... ... you start failing. Secura Consultants has prided itself for not only fulfilling the ... best income protection solutions at an affordable price and providing top-tier customer service. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/27/2015)... Nov. 27, 2015  Lannett Company, Inc. (NYSE: ... completed the acquisition of Kremers Urban Pharmaceuticals Inc. ... global biopharmaceuticals company UCB S.A. (Euronext: UCB). ... has acquired KU from UCB for total consideration ... including a customary working capital adjustment, a deduction ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... UTRECHT , Países Bajos, November 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... con la terapia fotodinámica de Bremachlorin para el cáncer ... combina la inmunoterapia con la terapia fotodinámica de Bremachlorin ... Un nuevo enfoque combina la inmunoterapia con la ...   Clinical Cancer Research . --> ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... --> --> ... find optimal contrast weighting of MRI for patients with ... a research agreement with SyntheticMR in order to use SyMRI ... is possible to generate multiple contrast images from a single ... left, thus making it possible to both fine tune images ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: