This study evaluated how enrollment in special education services in 11 year old children relates to prenatal cocaine exposure, psychopathology, and other risk factors.
Participants were 498 children enrolled in The Maternal Lifestyle Study, a prospective, longitudinal, multisite study examining outcomes of children with prenatal cocaine exposure. Logistic regression was used to examine the effect of prenatal cocaine exposure and psychopathology on enrollment in an individualized education plan (a designation specific to children with special education needs), with environmental, maternal, and infant medical variables as covariates.
Prenatal cocaine exposure, an interaction of prenatal cocaine exposure and Oppositional Defiant Disorder, child Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, parent-reported internalizing behaviors, and teacher-reported externalizing behaviors, predicted enrollment in an individualized education plan. Other statistically significant variables in the model were male gender, low birth weight, being small for gestational age, white race, caregiver change, low socio-economic status, low child intelligence quotient, caregiver depression, and prenatal marijuana exposure.
Prenatal cocaine exposure increased the likelihood of receiving an individualized education plan with adjustment for covariates. Psychopathology also predicted this special education outcome, in combination with and independent of prenatal cocaine exposure.
cocaine; special education; behavior; prenatal substance exposure
Little is known about the association between prenatal cocaine exposure and obesity. We tested whether prenatal cocaine exposure increases the likelihood of obesity in 561 9-year-old term children from the Maternal Lifestyle Study (MLS). Overall, 21.6% of children met criterion for obesity (body mass index [BMI] ≥ 95th percentile, age and sex-specific). While there was no overall cocaine effect on obesity, multivariate logistic analysis revealed that children exposed to cocaine but not alcohol were 4 times more likely to be obese (OR 4.11, CI 2.04–9.76) than children not exposed to either drug. No increase in obesity prevalence was found in children exposed to alcohol but not cocaine (OR 1.08, CI .59–1.93) or both (OR 1.21, CI 0.66–2.22). Alcohol exposure may attenuate the effect of cocaine exposure on obesity. Increased obesity associated with cocaine but not alcohol exposure was first observed at 7 years. BMI was also elevated from 3 to 9 years in children exposed to cocaine but not alcohol, due to increasing weight but normal height. Prenatal exposure to cocaine may alter the neuroendocrine system and metabolic processes resulting in increased weight gain and childhood obesity.
Prenatal cocaine exposure; prenatal alcohol exposure; childhood obesity; growth; fetal origins
To examine the relationships between sleep problems and prenatal exposure to cocaine, opiates, marijuana, alcohol, and nicotine in children 1 month to 12 years of age.
Sleep data was collected by maternal report in a prospective longitudinal follow-up of children participating in the Maternal Lifestyle multisite study.
Hospital based research centers in Providence, RI, Miami, FL, Detroit, MI, and Memphis, TN
There were 808 participants: 374 exposed to cocaine and/or opiates; 434 comparison.
Prenatal cocaine, opiate, marijuana, alcohol, and nicotine exposure.
Sleep problems in early, middle, and late childhood, assessed as composites of maternal report items.
Of the five substances, prenatal nicotine exposure was the only unique predictor of sleep problems (B = .074, R2 Δ = .008, p = .012) with adjustment for covariates including SES, marital status, physical abuse, prenatal medical care, and postnatal cigarette smoke exposure.
Prenatal exposure to nicotine was positively associated with children's sleep problems persisting throughout the first 12 years of life. Targeting this group of children for educational and behavioral efforts to prevent and treat sleep problems is merited given that good sleep may serve as a protective factor for other developmental outcomes.
The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of prenatal cocaine exposure on special education at age 7 with adjustment for covariates.
As part of the prospective, longitudinal, multisite study of children with prenatal cocaine exposure (Maternal Lifestyle Study), school records were reviewed for 943 children at 7 years to determine involvement in special education outcomes: (1) individualized education plan; (2) special education conditions; (3) support services; (4) special education classes; and (5) speech and language services. Logistic regression was used to examine the effect of prenatal cocaine exposure on these outcomes with environmental, maternal, and infant medical variables as covariates, as well as with and without low child IQ.
Complete data for each analysis model were available for 737 to 916 children. When controlling for covariates including low child IQ, prenatal cocaine exposure had a significant effect on individualized education plan. When low child IQ was not included in the model, prenatal cocaine exposure had a significant effect on support services. Male gender, low birth weight, white race, and low child IQ also predicted individualized education plan. Low birth weight and low child IQ were significant in all models. White race was also significant in speech and language services. Other covariate effects were model specific. When included in the models, low child IQ accounted for more of the variance and changed the significance of other covariates.
Prenatal cocaine exposure increased the likelihood of receiving an individualized education plan and support services, with adjustment for covariates. Low birth weight and low child IQ increased the likelihood of all outcomes. The finding that white children were more likely to get an individualized education plan and speech and language services could indicate a greater advantage in getting educational resources for this population.
prenatal exposure; cocaine; education; schools
Prenatal cocaine exposure has been linked to neurocognitive and developmental outcomes throughout childhood. The cardiovascular toxicity of cocaine is also markedly increased in pregnancy, but it is unknown whether this toxicity affects anthropometric growth and the development of cardiometabolic disease risk factors in the offspring across the lifespan. During the early 1990s, the Miami Prenatal Cocaine Study enrolled a cohort of 476 African American children (253 cocaine-exposed, 223 non-cocaine-exposed) and their biological mothers at delivery in a prospective, longitudinal study. The MPCS has collected 12 prior waves of multidomain data on over 400 infants and their mothers/alternate caregivers through mid-adolescence and is now embarking on an additional wave of data collection at ages 18-19 years. We describe here the analytical methods for examining the relationship between prenatal cocaine exposure, anthropometric growth, and cardiometabolic disease risk factors in late adolescence in this minority, urban cohort. Findings from this investigation should inform both the fields of substance use and cardiovascular research about subsequent risks of cocaine ingestion during pregnancy in offspring.
This study examines the relationship between prenatal cocaine exposure and parent-reported child behavior problems at age 7 years.
Data are from 407 African-American children (210 cocaine-exposed, 197 non-cocaine-exposed) enrolled prospectively at birth in a longitudinal study on the neurodevelopmental consequences of in utero exposure to cocaine. Prenatal cocaine exposure was assessed at delivery through maternal self-report and bioassays (maternal and infant urine and infant meconium). The Achenbach Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL), a measure of childhood externalizing and internalizing behavior problems, was completed by the child’s current primary caregiver during an assessment visit scheduled when the child was seven years old.
Structural equation and GLM/GEE models disclosed no association linking prenatal cocaine exposure status or level of cocaine exposure to child behavior (CBCL Externalizing and Internalizing scores or the eight CBCL sub-scale scores).
This evidence, based on standardized ratings by the current primary caregiver, fails to support hypothesized cocaine-associated behavioral problems in school-aged children with in utero cocaine exposure. A next step in this line of research is to secure standardized ratings from other informants (e.g., teachers, youth self-report).
cocaine; prenatal exposure; child behavior
This study examined the influence of prenatal cocaine exposure on attention and response inhibition measured by continuous performance tests (CPTs) at ages 5 and 7 years.
The baseline sample consisted of 253 cocaine-exposed and 223 non–cocaine-exposed children enrolled prospectively at birth and assessed comprehensively through age 7 years in the longitudinal Miami Prenatal Cocaine Study. This report includes a subsample of 415 children (219 cocaine-exposed, 196 non–cocaine-exposed) who completed at least one CPT assessment at ages 5 and/or 7 years. Prenatal cocaine exposure was measured by maternal self-report and maternal and infant bioassays. Deficits in attention and response inhibition are estimated in relation to prenatal cocaine exposure using generalized estimating equations within the general linear model.
Results indicate cocaine-associated increases in omission errors at ages 5 and 7 as well as increases in response times for target tasks (i.e., slower reaction times) and decreased consistency in performance at age 7. There were no demonstrable cocaine-associated deficits in commission errors. Estimates did not change markedly with statistical adjustment for selected prenatal and postnatal covariates.
Evidence supports cocaine-associated deficits in attention processing through age 7 years.
prenatal cocaine exposure; sustained attention; response inhibition; continuous performance test
We determined the role of risk and protective factors on the trajectories of behavior problems associated with high prenatal cocaine exposure (PCE)/polydrug exposure.
The Maternal Lifestyle Study enrolled 1388 children with or without PCE, assessed through age 15 years. Because most women using cocaine during pregnancy also used other substances, we analyzed for the effects of 4 categories of prenatal drug exposure: high PCE/other drugs (OD), some PCE/OD, OD/no PCE, and no PCE/no OD. Risks and protective factors at individual, family, and community levels that may be associated with behavior outcomes were entered stepwise into latent growth curve models, then replaced by cumulative risk and protective indexes, and finally by a combination of levels of risk and protective indexes. Main outcome measures were the trajectories of externalizing, internalizing, total behavior, and attention problems scores from the Child Behavior Checklist (parent).
A total of 1022 (73.6%) children had known outcomes. High PCE/OD significantly predicted externalizing, total, and attention problems when considering the balance between risk and protective indexes. Some PCE/OD predicted externalizing and attention problems. OD/no PCE also predicted behavior outcomes except for internalizing behavior. High level of protective factors was associated with declining trajectories of problem behavior scores over time, independent of drug exposure and risk index scores.
High PCE/OD is a significant risk for behavior problems in adolescence; protective factors may attenuate its detrimental effects. Clinical practice and public health policies should consider enhancing protective factors while minimizing risks to improve outcomes of drug-exposed children.
behavior problems; cumulative risks; prenatal cocaine exposure; protective factors
It has been proposed that maternal health and nutrition may be important in the development of adult cardiovascular risk, and that blood pressure may be an important intermediate step in this process. To examine the relevance of this hypothesis in contemporary British children, the relationships of several maternal factors to blood pressure were studied in 3360 children of European origin aged 5-7 years. Maternal age, height, and body mass index were all positively related to blood pressure in childhood but these relationships were abolished once the child's body build was taken into account. Maternal social class, educational attainment, and history of smoking in pregnancy showed no relationship with blood pressure in childhood. Parity showed an inverse association with blood pressure, but this appeared to be due to an association between total sibship size and blood pressure, suggesting a postnatal rather than a prenatal origin. Blood pressure was higher in children whose mothers had a history of high blood pressure but this association was no stronger than that for paternal history. Both birth weight and gestational age were inversely related to blood pressure at 5-7 years. The association between birth weight and blood pressure was attenuated by standardisation for gestational age, and the relationships between birth weight and blood pressure were similar in preterm and full term infants. No specific association between blood pressure and the maternal factors studied have been observed in this population. Hypotheses relating maternal factors to cardiovascular risk need to specify the timing and nature of their effects more precisely. Although the relationship between birth weight and blood pressure is not fully understood, it appears to reflect size at birth rather than fetal growth rate.
We sought to determine the association between small for gestational age (SGA), birth weight, and childhood obesity within preterm polysubstance exposed children. We sampled 312 preterm children with 11-year body mass index (BMI; age- and sex-specific) data from the Maternal Lifestyle Study (51% girls, 21.5% SGA, 46% prenatal cocaine, and 55% tobacco exposed). Multinomial regression analyzed the association between 11-year obesity (OBE) and overweight (OW) and SGA, birth weight, first-year growth velocity, diet, and physical activity variables. Overall, 24% were OBE (BMI for age ≥95th percentile) and 16.7% were OW (BMI ≥85th and <95th percentiles). In adjusted analyses, SGA was associated with OW (odds ratio [OR]=3.4, confidence interval [CI] 1.5 to 7.5). Higher birth weight was associated with OBE (OR = 1.8, CI 1.3 to 2.4) and OW (OR=1.4, CI 1.1 to 2.0). Growth velocity was associated with OBE (OR=2.7, CI 1.8 to 4.0) and OW (OR=1.6, CI 1.1 to 2.4). Low exercise was associated with OBE (OR=2.1, CI 1.0 to 4.4) and OW (OR=2.1, CI 1.0 to 4.5). There was no effect of substance exposure on obesity outcomes. Many (41%) of these high-risk preterm 11-year-olds were obese/overweight. Multiple growth-related processes may be involved in obesity risk for preterm children, including fetal programming as indicated by the SGA effect.
Childhood obesity; premature birth; infant SGA; birth weight; exercise; prenatal drug exposure
To evaluate the impact of prenatal cocaine exposure and small-for-gestational-age (SGA) status on childhood growth.
Cocaine exposure was defined by history or meconium metabolites. Hierarchical linear modeling was used to examine cocaine exposure and SGA status on growth, while controlling for exposure to other drugs and alcohol use.
At birth cocaine-exposed infants (n=364) had significantly lower growth parameters compared to non-exposed children (n=771). At 6 years, weight was similar between exposed and unexposed children. SGA infants continued to be growth impaired. There was a significant interaction between prenatal cocaine exposure and SGA status at 6 years. The negative effects of cocaine on weight and height were greater among non-SGA than SGA children (432 vs. 280 gm, and 0.7 and 0.5 cm, respectively) while negative effects of SGA status on weight and height were larger in non-cocaine exposed compared to the exposed children (2.3 kg vs.1.6 kg and 2.2 and 1.0 cm).
Children exposed to prenatal cocaine were similar in weight to non-exposed children at 6 years of age. Cocaine had an unexplained greater detrimental effect on non-SGA than SGA children. SGA status at birth has an independent detrimental effect on childhood growth.
Prenatal cocaine exposure; small for gestational age; childhood growth
Studies through 6 years have shown no long-term direct effects of prenatal cocaine exposure (PCE) on children’s physical growth, developmental test scores, or language outcomes. Little is known about the effects of PCE among school-aged children aged 6 years and older.
We reviewed articles from studies that examined the effects of PCE on growth, cognitive ability, academic functioning, and brain structure and function among school-aged children.
Articles were obtained by searching PubMed, Medline, TOXNET, and PsycInfo databases from January 1980 to December 2008 with the terms “prenatal cocaine exposure,” “cocaine,” “drug exposure,” “substance exposure,” “maternal drug use,” “polysubstance,” “children,” “adolescent,” “in utero,” “pregnancy,” “development,” and “behavior.” Criteria for inclusion were (1) empirical research on children aged 6 years and older prenatally exposed to cocaine, (2) peer-reviewed English-language journal, (3) comparison group, (4) longitudinal follow-up or historical prospective design, (5) masked assessment, (6) exclusion of subjects with serious medical disabilities, and (7) studies that reported nonredundant findings for samples used in multiple investigations. Thirty-two unique studies met the criteria. Each article was independently abstracted by 2 authors to obtain sample composition, methods of PCE assessment, study design, comparison groups, dependent variables, covariates, and results.
Associations between PCE and growth, cognitive ability, academic achievement, and language functioning were small and attenuated by environmental variables. PCE had significant negative associations with sustained attention and behavioral self-regulation, even with covariate control. Although emerging evidence suggests PCE-related alterations in brain structure and function, interpretation is limited by methodologic inconsistencies.
Consistent with findings among preschool-aged children, environmental variables play a key role in moderating and explaining the effects of PCE on school-aged children’s functioning. After controlling for these effects, PCE-related impairments are reliably reported in sustained attention and behavioral self-regulation among school-aged children. Pediatrics 2010;125:554–565
cocaine; maternal exposure; prenatal exposure delayed effects; attention; behavior; growth; language; adolescent development
Background. Maternal distress during pregnancy increases the intrauterine level of glucocorticoids, which may have long-term health consequences for the child.
Objective. To examine if distress as a combined measure of anxiety, depression, and stress of the mother during pregnancy was associated with offspring childhood overweight at age 7.
Methods. We performed a cohort study using prospective data from 37,764 women and child dyads from the Danish National Birth Cohort (1996–2002). At a telephone interview at approximately 30 weeks gestation, the women reported whether they felt anxious, depressed, or stressed. The 95 percentile for body mass index in an international reference defined childhood overweight at any given age. Logistic regression was used for the analyses. Results. The prevalence of overweight children at 7 years of age was 9.9%. Prenatal exposure to maternal distress during pregnancy was not associated with childhood overweight at 7 years of age (adjusted OR 1.06 (95% CI 0.96; 1.18)). In analyses stratified on sex, a small tendency of overweight was seen in boys (OR 1.15 (0.99; 1.33)), but not in girls (OR 0.98 (0.85; 1.13)). Conclusions. Maternal distress during pregnancy appeared to have limited, if any, influence on the risk of overweight in offspring at 7 years of age.
The prevalence of overweight and obese children is increasing, a tendency that can be expected to increase the risk of adverse outcomes in adulthood. The aim of this study was to determine if prenatal exposure to alcohol, cigarettes, and street drugs would be associated with differences in body mass index (BMI) in childhood and adolescence in offspring from families at high and low genetic risk for developing alcohol dependence. Annual follow-up of offspring (N =288) provided 1200 height and weight assessments for analysis. Maternal substance use data were available for 235 offspring from families stratified for familial/genetic risk for alcohol dependence (high or low risk), providing the opportunity to assess prenatal exposure and familial/genetic risk in relation to BMI in the offspring. When data were grouped by the presence or absence of any prenatal cigarette exposure, a significant difference in offspring BMI was seen for 8- to 11-year-olds. Significant group differences were also seen at ages 12–15 and 16–18 years. A dose–response relationship between cigarette use by the mother and offspring BMI was also seen. With the strong tendency for individuals who are overweight in childhood and adolescence to become overweight adults, prenatal exposure to nicotine may be a harbinger of increased risk for numerous adult-onset, weight-related health problems.
Risk for obesity; Childhood obesity; Prenatal smoking; Prenatal use of substances; Body mass index; Genetic susceptibility; Familial risk for alcohol dependence
This study examined the direct and indirect associations between maternal cocaine use during pregnancy and mother-toddler aggression in an interactive context at 2 years of child age. We hypothesized that in addition to direct effects of cocaine exposure on maternal and child aggression, the association between maternal cocaine use and mother-toddler aggression may be indirect via higher maternal psychiatric symptoms, negative affect, or poor infant autonomic regulation at 13 months. Participants consisted of 220 (119 cocaine exposed, 101 non-cocaine exposed) mother-toddler dyads participating in an ongoing longitudinal study of prenatal cocaine exposure. Results indicated that mothers who used cocaine during pregnancy displayed higher levels of aggression toward their toddlers compared to mothers in the control group. Results from model testing indicated significant indirect associations between maternal cocaine use and maternal aggression via higher maternal negative affect as well as lower infant autonomic regulation at 13 months. Although there were no direct associations between cocaine exposure and toddler aggression, there was a significant indirect effect via lower infant autonomic regulation at 13 months. Results highlight the importance of including maternal aggression in predictive models of prenatal cocaine exposure examining child aggression. Results also emphasize the important role of infant regulation as a mechanism partially explaining associations between cocaine exposure and mother-toddler aggression.
Infant Autonomic Regulation; Prenatal Substance exposure; Aggression
The influence of prenatal cocaine exposure on children's language functioning was evaluated longitudinally at six time points from 4 months to 3 years of age. The Miami Prenatal Cocaine Study prospectively enrolled 476 full-term African-American infants at birth, categorized as cocaine-exposed (n = 253) or non-cocaine-exposed (n = 223) by maternal self-report and bioassays (maternal/infant urine, meconium). The Bayley Scales of Infant Development, scored using the Kent Scoring Adaptation for language, was administered at 4, 8, 12, 18, and 24 months. The Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals-Preschool was administered at 3 years. In longitudinal analyses using Generalized Estimating Equations, cocaine-exposed children had lower overall language skills than non-cocaine-exposed children (D = -0.151; 95% CI = -0.269, -0.033; p = .012). Longitudinal findings remained stable after evaluation of potential confounding influences including other prenatal substance exposures and sociodemographic factors. Preliminary evidence also indicated possible mediation through an intermediary effect involving cocaine-associated deficits in fetal growth.
To examine the impact of prenatal cocaine exposure and maternal behavioral health (recent drug use and psychological functioning) on child behavior at age 5 years.
In this longitudinal investigation, maternal report of child behavior was assessed using the Achenbach Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) in 140 cocaine-exposed and 181 noncocaine-exposed (61 alcohol, tobacco, and/or marijuana-exposed, and 120 nondrug-exposed) low-income, African American children. Structural equation modeling was used to estimate suspected causal relationships between indicators of maternal behavioral health at 5-year follow-up, according to self-report on a modified Addiction Severity Index (ASI) and CBCL scores.
Prenatal cocaine exposure was not related to child behavior at age 5. Recent maternal drug use and psychological functioning had relationships with CBCL Internalizing and Externalizing scores. However, when considered within a combined model, only maternal psychological functioning remained significant.
Findings highlight the importance of maternal functioning in the behavioral outcome of children exposed prenatally to cocaine.
prenatal cocaine exposure; child behavior; CBCL
To examine the relationship between early parenting stress and later child behavior in a high risk sample and measure the effect of drug exposure on the relationship between parenting stress and child behavior.
A subset of child-caregiver dyads (n = 607) were selected from the Maternal Lifestyle Study, which is a large sample of children (n = 1388) with prenatal cocaine exposure and a comparison sample unexposed to cocaine. Of the 607 dyads, 221 were prenatally exposed to cocaine and 386 were unexposed to cocaine. Selection was based on the presence of a stable caregiver at 4 and 36 months with no evidence of change in caregiver between those time points.
Parenting stress at 4 months significantly predicted child externalizing behavior at 36 months. These relations were unaffected by cocaine exposure suggesting the relationship between parenting stress and behavioral outcome exists for high-risk children regardless of drug exposure history.
These results extend the findings of the relationship between parenting stress and child behavior to a sample of high-risk children with prenatal drug exposure. Implications for outcome and treatment are discussed.
disruptive behavior; parenting stress; high-risk children; prenatal drug exposure; cocaine
Some prenatal factors may program an offspring's blood pressure, but existing evidence is inconclusive and mechanisms remain unclear. We examined the mediating roles of intrauterine and childhood growth in the associations between childhood systolic blood pressure (SBP) and 5 potentially modifiable prenatal factors: maternal smoking during pregnancy; prepregnancy BMI; pregnancy weight gain; chronic hypertension; and preeclampsia-eclampsia.
The sample contained 30 461 mother-child pairs in the Collaborative Perinatal Project. Prenatal data were extracted from obstetric forms, and children's SBP was measured at 7 years of age. Potential mediation by intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) and childhood growth was examined by the causal step method.
Heavy maternal smoking during pregnancy was significantly associated with higher offspring SBP (adjusted mean difference versus nonsmoking: 0.73 mm Hg [95% confidence interval (CI): 0.32–1.14]), which attenuated to null (0.13 [95% CI: −0.27–0.54]) after adjustment for changes in BMI from birth to 7 years of age. Prepregnancy overweight-obesity was significantly associated with higher offspring SBP (versus normal weight: 0.89 mm Hg [95% CI: 0.52–1.26]), which also attenuated to null (−0.04 mm Hg [95% CI: −0.40–0.31]) after adjustment for childhood BMI trajectory. Adjustment for BMI trajectory augmented the association between maternal pregnancy weight gain and offspring SBP. Adjustment for childhood weight trajectory similarly changed these associations. However, all these associations were independent of IUGR.
Childhood BMI and weight trajectory, but not IUGR, may largely mediate the associations of maternal smoking during pregnancy and prepregnancy BMI with an offspring's SBP.
blood pressure; pregnancy; fetal development; infant; small for gestational age; child development; obesity
Reports from clinical and experimental (animal) research converge on the suggestion that prenatal exposure to alcohol, cocaine, or marijuana undermines executive functioning (EF) and its neurological underpinnings. However, large, adequately controlled, prospective studies of alcohol and marijuana effects on EF have reported conflicting findings, and there have been no such studies of cocaine exposure.
EF was investigated in a cohort (n = 316) of 4-year-old children the majority of whose mothers had used varying combinations of cocaine, alcohol, and marijuana during pregnancy. With use of postpartum maternal report and biological assay, children were assigned to overlapping prenatal cocaine-exposed, alcohol-exposed, and marijuana-exposed groups and to complementary control groups. The postnatal environmental assessment included measures of maternal intellectual and psychosocial functioning, current drug or alcohol use, and home environment.
The children in the alcohol-exposed group had worse tapping-inhibition performance than children in the non–alcohol-exposed group, and this effect persisted when potential confounding environmental variables, other drug variables, and concurrent verbal intelligence were controlled for.
Prenatal alcohol is predictive of decreased EF in early childhood that could not be attributed to environmental factors. The results are discussed in terms of the age and overall high-risk status of the children.
Alcohol; Inhibition; Frontal; Prenatal; Cocaine
The effects of prenatal cocaine use on quality of maternal-infant interactions were evaluated using the Nursing Child Assessment Feeding Scale (NCAFS). A total of 341 (155 cocaine using; 186 non–cocaine using) low socioeconomic, primarily African-American dyads were evaluated longitudinally at birth, 6.5, and 12 months. Group differences over time were examined, controlling for covariates, using a mixed-model linear approach. Women who used cocaine during pregnancy were less sensitive to their infants than non–cocaine-using women at 6.5 and 12 months. At 6.5 months, heavier prenatal cocaine users were less responsive to their infants than lighter users. In infants, prenatal cocaine exposure was related to poorer clarity of cues. There were no significant cocaine effects on maternal social-emotional growth fostering, cognitive growth fostering, or infant responsiveness to mother. Controlling for covariates, concentration of cocaine metabolites predicted maternal sensitivity to infant cues and infant clarity of cues at 1 year. Maternal cocaine use during pregnancy and other pre- and postnatal factors adversely affect maternal-infant interactions during the first year of life.
prenatal; cocaine; mother-infant interaction
Epidemiological studies have shown a clear association of adverse intrauterine environment and an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases and hypertension in adult life. The present study tested the hypothesis that prenatal cocaine exposure causes reprogramming of vascular reactivity, leading to an increased risk of hypertension in adult offspring. Pregnant rats received cocaine (30 mgkg-1day-1) or saline from days 15 to 21 of gestational age and experiments were conducted in 3-month-old offspring. Cocaine had no effect on the baseline blood pressure, but significantly increased norepinephrine-stimulated blood pressure and decreased the baroreflex sensitivity in male but not female offspring. The cocaine treatment significantly increased norepinephrine-induced contractions in pressurized resistance-sized mesenteric arteries but not in aortas, which was primarily due to a loss of eNOS-mediated inhibition and an enhanced Ca2+ sensitivity in mesenteric arteries. Additionally, the cocaine treatment significantly attenuated the endothelium-dependent relaxation in mesenteric arteries in male but not female offspring. eNOS protein levels in aortas but not mesenteric arteries were significantly increased in the cocaine-treated animals. However, cocaine significantly decreased phosphorylation levels of eNOS in both aortas and mesenteric arteries. The results suggest that prenatal cocaine exposure programs vascular contractility via changes in eNOS-regulated Ca2+ sensitivity of myofilaments in the sex- and tissue-dependent manners in resistance arteries leading to an increased risk of hypertension in male offspring.
Cocaine; fetal programming; Ca2+ sensitivity; eNOS; vascular contractility; rat
We previously reported an association between prenatal cocaine exposure (PCE) and childhood behavior problems as observed by the parent or caretaker. However, these behavior problems may not manifest in a structured environment, such as a school setting.
We determined whether there is an association between PCE and school behavior problems and whether ratings of behavior problems from the teacher differ from those noted by the parent or caretaker.
The Maternal Lifestyle Study, a multicenter study, enrolled 1388 children with and without PCE at one month of age for longitudinal assessment. Teachers masked to prenatal drug exposure status completed the Teacher Report Form (TRF/6-18) when children were 7, 9, and 11 years old. We also administered the Child Behavior Checklist-parent report (CBCL) to the parent/caretaker at same ages and then at 13 years. We performed latent growth curve modeling to determine whether high PCE will predict externalizing, internalizing, total behavior, and attention problems at 7 years of age and whether changes in problems' scores over time differ between those exposed and non-exposed from both teacher and parent report. Besides levels of PCE as predictors, we controlled for the following covariates, namely: site, child characteristics (gender and other prenatal drug exposures), family level influences (maternal age, depression and psychological symptomatology, continuing drug use, exposure to domestic violence, home environment, and socioeconomic status), and community level factors (neighborhood and community violence).
The mean behavior problem T scores from the teacher report were significantly higher than ratings by the parent or caretaker. Latent growth curve modeling revealed a significant relationship between intercepts of problem T scores from teacher and parent ratings; i.e., children that were rated poorly by teachers were also rated poorly by their parent/caretaker or vice versa. After controlling for covariates, we found high PCE to be a significant predictor of with higher externalizing behavior problem T scores from both parent and teacher report at 7 years (p=0.034 and p=0.021, respectively) in comparison to non-PCE children. These differences in scores from either teacher or caregiver were stable through subsequent years or did not change significantly over time. Boys had higher T scores than girls on internalizing and total problems by caretaker report; they also had significantly higher T scores for internalizing, total, and attention problems by teacher ratings; the difference was marginally significant for externalizing behavior (p=0.070). Caretaker postnatal use of tobacco, depression, and community violence were significant predictors of all behavior problems rated by parent/caretaker, while lower scores on the home environment predicted all behavior outcomes by the teacher report.
Children with high PCE are likely to manifest externalizing behavior problems; their behavior problem scores at 7 years from either report of teacher or parent remained higher than scores of non-exposed children on subsequent years. Screening and identification of behavior problems at earlier ages could make possible initiation of intervention, while considering the likely effects of other confounders.
Children prenatally exposed to cocaine may be at increased risk for behavioral problems due to disruptions of monaminergically regulated arousal systems and/or environmental conditions.
To assess behavioral outcomes of cocaine (CE) and non-cocaine exposed (NCE) children, 4 through 10 years old, controlling for other prenatal drug exposures and environmental factors.
Low socioeconomic status (SES), primarily African-American children (n = 381 (193 (CE), 188 (NCE)) were recruited from birth. Generalized Estimating Equation (GEE) analyses were used to assess the predictive relationship of prenatal cocaine exposure to odds of caregiver reported clinically elevated behavioral problems at 4, 6, 9 and 10 years of age, controlling for confounders.
Prenatal cocaine exposure was associated with increased rates of caregiver reported delinquency (OR=1.93, CI: 1.09-3.42, p<.02). A significant prenatal cocaine exposure by sex interaction was found for delinquency indicating that only females were affected (OR=3.57, CI: 1.67-7.60, p<.001). There was no effect of cocaine on increased odds of other CBCL subscales. Higher prenatal tobacco exposure was associated with increased odds of externalizing symptoms at 4, 9 and 10 years of age. For CE children, those in foster or adoptive care were rated as having more behavior problems than those in biologic mother or relative care. Greater caregiver psychological distress was associated with increased behavioral problems. There were no independent effects of elevated blood lead level on increased behavior problems after control for prenatal drug exposure and other environmental conditions.
Prenatal cocaine and tobacco exposure were associated with greater externalizing behavior after control for multiple prenatal drug exposures, other environmental and caregiving factors and lead exposure from 4 through 10 years of age. Greater caregiver psychological distress negatively affected caregiver ratings of all CBCL domains. Since cocaine and tobacco use during pregnancy and maternal psychological distress have the potential to be altered through prenatal educational, drug treatment and and mental health interventions, they warrant attention in efforts to reduce rates of problem behaviors in children.
behavior; delinquency; prenatal cocaine-exposure; lead exposure; longitudinal
This study examined the effects of prenatal cocaine exposure, environmental risk, and maternal verbal intelligence on children's cognitive ability. Gender and age were examined as moderators of potential cocaine exposure effects. The Stanford-Binet IV intelligence test was administered to 231 children (91 cocaine exposed, 140 unexposed) at 4, 6, and 9 years of age. Neonatal medical risk and other prenatal exposures (alcohol, cigarettes, and marijuana) were also examined for their unique effects on child IQ. Mixed models analysis indicated that prenatal cocaine exposure interacted with gender as cocaine exposed boys had lower composite IQ scores. Age of assessment did not moderate this relation, indicating that cocaine exposed boys had lower IQs across this age period. A stimulating home environment and high maternal verbal IQ also predicted higher composite IQ scores. Cocaine exposed boys had lower scores on the Abstract/Visual Reasoning subscale, with trends for lower scores on the Short-term Memory and Verbal Reasoning subscales, as exposure effects were observed across domains. The findings indicate that cocaine exposure continues to place children at risk for mild cognitive deficits into preadolescence. Possible mechanisms for the exposure by gender interaction are discussed.
prenatal cocaine exposure; environmental risk; gender differences; intelligence