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UM School of Medicine finds prenatal cocaine exposure not severely damaging to growth, learning
Date:3/1/2010

and gray matter, for example.

The results suggest that the prevention efforts should continue to target reducing drug use among women, especially during pregnancy, but such outreach should continue after the child's birth. Education and support to help caregivers improve the child's environment might be very beneficial to children exposed to cocaine, Dr. Black says. The research will continue to examine the specific areas of the brain that may be vulnerable to cocaine exposure in the hopes of linking neural differences with behavioral outcomes.

A review is an efficient way to examine the larger picture of a public health issue, going beyond just one study, says Dr. Black. A review is particularly useful in a field of research that has not existed for very long, such as the study of cocaine-exposed children. "If you have findings from a single study, you cannot be sure of their significance until the study is replicated," Dr. Black says. "The benefit of a review is that it takes what's in the literature as a whole, puts it together and tries to make sense of it."

"Dr. Black's review has uncovered an entirely new way of thinking about these most vulnerable victims of substance abuse, the children exposed to drugs before birth," says E. Albert Reece, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and dean of the School of Medicine, and vice president for medical affairs of the University of Maryland. "I am hopeful her work will lead to new interventions to prevent prenatal cocaine exposure at the start, and to ensure the success of these children for the benefit of their own health and public health as a whole."


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Contact: Karen Buckelew
kbuckelew@som.umaryland.edu
410-706-7590
University of Maryland Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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