Maternal cocaine use damages young children

Research Summary
Young children of mothers who use cocaine scored somewhat worse than other children on tests designed to measure their attention, the Health Behavior News Service reported June 12.
The study of 415 African-American children ages 5-7 found that those born to mothers who used cocaine while pregnant did worse on the attention test, made more errors of omission, and reacted slower on tests. Differences between the cocaine group and other children were minor, however.
“This study provides further evidence of a subtle but consistent effect on attention through early school-aged years,” said study author Veronica Accornero of the University of Miami.
Still, the results were a far cry from the “crack baby” fears of the 1980s, and experts said that alcohol and tobacco use during pregnancy cause far greater problems.
Source:June 2007 issue of the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.

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