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
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
Two hundred and two primarily African American/Caribbean children (classified by maternal report and infant meconium as 38 heavier, 74 lighter and 89 not cocaine-exposed) were measured repeatedly from birth to age 8 years to assess whether there is an independent effect of prenatal cocaine exposure on physical growth patterns. Children with fetal alcohol syndrome identifiable at birth were excluded. At birth, cocaine and alcohol exposures were significantly and independently associated with lower weight, length and head circumference in cross-sectional multiple regression analyses. The relationship over time of pre-natal exposures to weight, height, and head circumference was then examined by multiple linear regression using mixed linear models including covariates: child’s gestational age, gender, ethnicity, age at assessment, current caregiver, birth mother’s use of alcohol, marijuana and tobacco during the pregnancy and pre-pregnancy weight (for child’s weight) and height (for child’s height and head circumference). The cocaine effects did not persist beyond infancy in piecewise linear mixed models, but a significant and independent negative effect of pre-natal alcohol exposure persisted for weight, height, and head circumference. Catch-up growth in cocaine-exposed infants occurred primarily by 6 months of age for all growth parameters, with some small fluctuations in growth rates in the preschool age range but no detectable differences between heavier versus unexposed nor lighter versus unexposed thereafter.
Cocaine; Alcohol; Pregnancy; Growth; Children
Prenatal cocaine exposure has been linked to intrauterine growth retardation and poor birth outcomes; little is known about the effects on longer-term medical outcomes, such as overweight status and hypertension in childhood. Our objective was to examine the association between prenatal cocaine exposure and body mass index and blood pressure at 9 years of age among children followed prospectively in a multi-site longitudinal study evaluating the impact of maternal lifestyle during pregnancy on childhood outcome.
This analysis includes 880 children (277 cocaine exposed and 603 with no cocaine exposure) with blood pressure, height, and weight measurements at 9 years of age. Regression analyses were conducted to explore the relationship between prenatal cocaine exposure and body mass index and blood pressure at 9 years of age after controlling for demographics, other drug exposure, birth weight, maternal weight, infant postnatal weight gain, and childhood television viewing, exercise and dietary habits at 9 years. Path analyses were used to further explore these relationships.
At 9 years of age, 15% of the children were pre-hypertensive and 19% were hypertensive; 16% were at risk for overweight status and 21% were overweight. A small percentage of women were exposed to high levels of prenatal cocaine throughout pregnancy. Among children born to these women, a higher body mass index was noted. Path analysis suggested that high cocaine exposure has an indirect effect on systolic and diastolic blood pressure that is mediated through its effect on body mass index.
High levels of in-utero cocaine exposure are a marker for elevated body mass index and blood pressure among children born full term.
Prenatal cocaine exposure; Body mass index; Childhood hypertension; Overweight; Obesity
To evaluate the association of tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) use during pregnancy with early growth parameters in HIV-exposed, uninfected (HEU) infants.
US-based prospective cohort study of HEU children to examine potential adverse effects of prenatal TDF exposure.
We evaluated the association of maternal TDF use during pregnancy with small for gestational age (SGA); low birth weight (LBW, <2.5kg); weight-for-age z-scores (WAZ), length-forage z-scores (LAZ) and head circumference-for-age (HCAZ) z-scores at newborn visit; and LAZ, HCAZ, and WAZ at age one year. Logistic regression models for LBW and SGA were fit, adjusting for maternal and sociodemographic factors. Adjusted linear regression models were used to evaluate LAZ, WAZ and HCAZ by TDF exposure.
Of 2029 enrolled children with maternal antiretroviral information, TDF was used by 449 (21%) HIV-infected mothers, increasing from 14% in 2003 to 43% in 2010. There was no difference between those exposed to combination regimens with versus without TDF for SGA, LBW, and newborn LAZ and HCAZ. However, at age one year, infants exposed to combination regimens with TDF had significantly lower adjusted mean LAZ and HCAZ than those without TDF (LAZ: −0.17 vs. −0.03, p=0.04; HCAZ: 0.17 vs. 0.42, p=0.02).
TDF use during pregnancy was not associated with increased risk for LBW or SGA. The slightly lower mean LAZ and HCAZ observed at age one year in TDF-exposed infants are of uncertain significance but underscore the need for additional studies of growth outcomes after TDF use during pregnancy.
Tenofovir disoproxil fumarate; perinatal HIV exposure; infant growth; antiretroviral drugs; pregnancy
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.
The control of growth and nutritional status in the foetus and neonate is a complex mechanism, in which also hormones produced by adipose tissue, such as adiponectin and leptin are involved. The aim of this study was to evaluate levels of adiponectin, leptin and insulin in appropriate (AGA) and small for gestational age (SGA) children during the 1st year of life and to correlate these with auxological parameters.
In 33 AGA and 29 SGA infants, weight, length, head circumference, glucose, insulin, adiponectin and leptin levels were evaluated at the second day of life, and at one, six and twelve months, during which a portion of SGA could show catch-up growth (rapid growth in infants born small for their gestational age).
Both total and isoform adiponectin levels were comparable between AGA and SGA infants at birth and until age one year. These levels significantly increased from birth to the first month of life and then decreased to lower values at 1 year of age in all subjects. Circulating leptin concentrations were higher in AGA (2.1 ± 4.1 ng/ml) than in SGA neonates (0.88 ± 1.03 ng/ml, p < 0.05) at birth, then similar at the 1st and the 6th month of age, but they increased in SGA from six months to one year, when they showed catch-up growth. Circulating insulin levels were not statistically different in AGA and SGA neonates at any study time point. Insulin levels in both AGA and SGA infants increased over the study period, and were significantly lower at birth compared to one, six and 12 months of age.
During the first year of life, in both AGA and SGA infants a progressive decrease in adiponectin levels was observed, while a difference in leptin values was correlated with the nutritional status.
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.
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
The current study estimates the longitudinal effects of severity of prenatal cocaine exposure on language functioning in an urban sample of full-term African-American children (200 cocaine-exposed, 176 noncocaine-exposed) through age 7 years. The Miami Prenatal Cocaine Study sample was enrolled prospectively at birth, with documentation of prenatal drug exposure status through maternal interview and toxicology assays of maternal and infant urine and infant meconium. Language functioning was measured at ages 3 and 5 years using the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals–Preschool (CELF-P) and at age 7 years using the Core Language Domain of the NEPSY: A Developmental Neuropsychological Assessment. Longitudinal latent growth curve analyses were used to examine two components of language functioning, a more stable aptitude for language performance and a time-varying trajectory of language development, across the three time points and their relationship to varying levels of prenatal cocaine exposure. Severity of prenatal cocaine exposure was characterized using a latent construct combining maternal self-report of cocaine use during pregnancy by trimesters and maternal and infant bioassays, allowing all available information to be taken into account. The association between severity of exposure and language functioning was examined within a model including factors for fetal growth, gestational age, and IQ as intercorrelated response variables and child’s age, gender, and prenatal alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana exposure as covariates. Results indicated that greater severity of prenatal cocaine exposure was associated with greater deficits within the more stable aptitude for language performance (D = −0.071, 95% CI = −0.133, −0.009; p = 0.026). There was no relationship between severity of prenatal cocaine exposure and the time-varying trajectory of language development. The observed cocaine-associated deficit was independent of multiple alternative suspected sources of variation in language performance, including other potential responses to prenatal cocaine exposure, such as child’s intellectual functioning, and other birth and postnatal influences, including language stimulation in the home environment.
Prenatal cocaine exposure; Language performance
To estimate the relationship between severity of prenatal cocaine exposure and expressive and receptive language skills in full-term, African American children at age 3 years.
Language was assessed at age 3 using the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals–Preschool (CELF-P). The sample included 424 children (226 cocaine exposed, 198 non–cocaine exposed) who received preschool language assessments at age 3, drawn from a cohort of 476 children enrolled prospectively at birth.
Structural equation modeling was used to regress expressive and receptive language as intercorrelated response variables on level of prenatal cocaine exposure, measured by a latent construct including maternal self-report of cocaine use and maternal/infant urine toxicology assays and infant meconium. Results indicated a .168 SD decrease in expressive language functioning for every unit increase in exposure level (95% CI = −.320, −.015; p = .031) after consideration for fetal growth and gestational age as correlated response variables. Receptive language was more modestly related to prenatal cocaine exposure and was not statistically significant. Results for expressive language remained stable with inclusion of the McCarthy general cognitive index as a response variable (expressive language β = −.173, 95% CI = −.330, −.016; p = .031), and with adjustment for maternal age and prenatal exposures to alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana (expressive language β = −.175, 95% CI = −.347, −.003; p = .046). Additional child and caregiver environmental variables assessed at age 3 were also evaluated in varying statistical models with similar results.
The evidence from this study supports a gradient relationship between increased level of prenatal cocaine exposure and decreased expressive language functioning in preschool-aged cocaine-exposed children.
prenatal cocaine exposure; language functioning; preschool children; CELF-P
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
The newborn classified as growth-restricted on birth weight curves, but not on fetal weight curves, is classified prenatally as small for gestational age (SGA), but postnatally as appropriate for gestational age (AGA).
To see (1) to what extent the neurodevelopmental outcomes at 24 months corrected age differed among three groups of infants (those identified as SGA based on birth weight curves (B-SGA), those identified as SGA based on fetal weight curves only (F-SGA), and the referent group of infants considered AGA, (2) if girls and boys were equally affected by growth restriction, and (3) to what extent neurosensory limitations influenced what we found.
Observational cohort of births before the 28 week of gestation. Outcome measures: Mental Development Index (MDI) and Psychomotor Development Index (PDI) of the Bayley Scales of Infant Development II.
B-SGA, but not F-SGA girls were at an increased risk of a PDI < 70 (OR=2.8; 95% CI: 1.5, 5.3) compared to AGA girls. B-SGA and F-SGA boys were not at greater risk of low developmental indices than AGA boys. Neurosensory limitations diminished associations among girls of B-SGA with low MDI, and among boys B-SGA and F-SGA with PDI < 70.
Only girls with the most severe growth restriction were at increased risk of neurodevelopmental impairment at 24 months corrected age in the total sample. Neurosensory limitations appear to interfere with assessing growth restriction effects in both girls and boys born preterm.
Objective. Retrospective single-centre analysis of growth characteristics in 182 healthy short children born small for gestational age (SGA) or appropriate for gestational age (idiopathic short stature, ISS). Methods. Birth size references from the USA and Sweden were compared, and for the classification as SGA or ISS the Swedish reference was chosen. Height, target height (TH), bone age (BA), predicted adult height (PAH), IGF-I and IGFBP-3 values were compared between SGA and ISS. Results. In the combined group, birth weight and length showed a symmetric Gaussian distribution. The American reference overestimates the percentage of short birth length and underestimates that of low birth weight. In childhood, SGA children were shorter than ISS (−3.1 versus −2.6 SDS, P < .001), also in comparison to TH (−2.6 versus −1.9 SDS, P < .001). TH, height SDS change over time, BA delay, and PAH were similar. IGF-I and IGFBP-3 were lower in ISS (P = .03 and .09). Conclusions. SGA children represent the left tail of the Gaussian distribution of birth size in short children. The distinction between SGA and ISS depends on birth size reference. Childhood height of SGA is lower than of ISS, but the other auxological features are similar.
Low- and middle-income countries continue to experience a large burden of stunting; 148 million children were estimated to be stunted, around 30–40% of all children in 2011. In many of these countries, foetal growth restriction (FGR) is common, as is subsequent growth faltering in the first 2 years. Although there is agreement that stunting involves both prenatal and postnatal growth failure, the extent to which FGR contributes to stunting and other indicators of nutritional status is uncertain.
Using extant longitudinal birth cohorts (n = 19) with data on birth-weight, gestational age and child anthropometry (12–60 months), we estimated study-specific and pooled risk estimates of stunting, wasting and underweight by small-for-gestational age (SGA) and preterm birth.
We grouped children according to four combinations of SGA and gestational age: adequate size-for-gestational age (AGA) and preterm; SGA and term; SGA and preterm; and AGA and term (the reference group). Relative to AGA and term, the OR (95% confidence interval) for stunting associated with AGA and preterm, SGA and term, and SGA and preterm was 1.93 (1.71, 2.18), 2.43 (2.22, 2.66) and 4.51 (3.42, 5.93), respectively. A similar magnitude of risk was also observed for wasting and underweight. Low birthweight was associated with 2.5–3.5-fold higher odds of wasting, stunting and underweight. The population attributable risk for overall SGA for outcomes of childhood stunting and wasting was 20% and 30%, respectively.
This analysis estimates that childhood undernutrition may have its origins in the foetal period, suggesting a need to intervene early, ideally during pregnancy, with interventions known to reduce FGR and preterm birth.
Foetal growth restriction; preterm birth; stunting; wasting; childhood
Aims: To evaluate whether 7 year old VLBW (very low birth weight, <1500 g) survivors with and without bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) evince similar growth status and higher adrenal androgen (AA) levels than term controls, and whether AA levels are higher in VLBW children born small for gestational age (SGA) than in non-SGA cases.
Methods: Assessment of height standard deviation score (SDs), body mass index (BMI), and serum androstenedione and dehydroepiandrostenedione sulphate levels in 31 VLBW children with BPD, 33 without BPD (no-BPD group), and 33 term controls.
Results: Lower median (range) height SDs was found in BPD (-1.0 (-3.4 to 1.4) SD) and no-BPD (-0.9 (-2.9 to 2.2) SD) children than in term controls (0.3 (-1.5 to 1.9) SD). Low BMI (below 10th centile) was more common in both the BPD (18 (58%)) and no-BPD (16 (49%)) children compared to term cases (3 (9%)). The median (range) androstenedione levels tended to be higher in the BPD (0.8 (0 to 2.8) nmol/l) and no-BPD (0.8 (0 to 2.3) nmol/l) groups than in term controls (0.6 (0 to 1.8)). Higher median (range) dehydroepiandrostenedione sulphate levels were detected in the no-BPD compared to the term group (0.9 (0 to 4.1) v 0.3 (0 to 2.3) µmol/l). VLBW children born SGA had higher AA levels compared to non-SGA cases.
Conclusions: At 7 years of age, VLBW children are shorter and tend to have higher AA levels than term controls, but VLBW children with and without BPD do not differ from each other in growth or AA status. Those born SGA have higher AA levels compared to non-SGA cases. The consequences of these findings to final height and to later metabolic and vascular health remain to be determined.
Dysmorphologic and anthropometric assessments were performed on 154 6-year-old children prenatally exposed to cocaine (PCE) and 131 high-risk controls (NCE) of similar race and social class. Adjusted mean height z scores demonstrated a dose-response with metahydroxybenzoylecgonine above a threshold of 100 ng/g of meconium and greater cocaine exposure predicted lower weight for height z score. Higher average alcohol exposure throughout pregnancy and 3rd trimester predicted lower head circumference and weight z scores, respectively. Severity of marijuana use also predicted lower height for age but greater weight for height. There was not an increased rate of minor anomalies among the PCE cohort, nor was a consistent phenotype identified. After controlling for covariates, higher average prenatal cigarette exposure predicted higher incidence of cranial facial abnormalities. First trimester alcohol exposure predicted greater rates of ear abnormalities and third trimester marijuana exposure predicted greater rates of chest and head shape abnormalities. These finding indicate that prenatal cocaine exposure has a negative effect on specific growth outcomes including standardized height and weight for height, but not a systematic pattern of structural abnormalities.
Dysmorphology; Prenatal cocaine-exposure; Anthropometric; Height; Cocaine metabolite; Meconium
To assess whether there is an association between the level of in utero cocaine exposure and findings on neonatal cranial ultrasound, controlling for potentially confounding variables.
In a prospective longitudinal study, three cocaine exposure groups were defined by maternal report and infant meconium assay: unexposed, heavier cocaine exposure (>75th percentile self-reported days of use or of meconium benzoylecogonine concentration) or lighter cocaine exposure (all others). Neonatal ultrasounds from 241 well, term infants were read by a single radiologist who was masked to the exposure group.
Infants with lighter cocaine exposure did not differ from the unexposed infants on any ultrasound findings. After controlling for infant gender, gestational age, and birth weight z scores and for maternal parity, blood pressure in labor, ethnicity, and use of cigarettes, alcohol, and marijuana during pregnancy, the more heavily cocaine-exposed infants were more likely than the unexposed infants to show subependymal hemorrhage in the caudothalamic groove (covariate adjusted odds ratio: 3.88; 95% confidence interval: 1.45, 10.35).
This is the first study to demonstrate that ultrasound findings suggestive of vascular injury to the neonatal central nervous system are related to the level of prenatal cocaine exposure. Inconsistency in previous research in identifying an association between prenatal cocaine exposure and neonatal cranial ultrasound findings may reflect failure to consider dose effects.
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
Children born small-for-gestational-age (SGA) are at increased risk of developing obesity and metabolic diseases later in life, a risk which is magnified if followed by accelerated postnatal growth. We investigated whether common gene variants associated with adult obesity were associated with increased postnatal growth, as measured by BMI z-score, in children born SGA and appropriate for gestational age (AGA) in the Auckland Birthweight Collaborative.
A total of 37 candidate SNPs were genotyped on 547 European children (228 SGA and 319 AGA). Repeated measures of BMI (z-score) were used for assessing obesity status, and results were corrected for multiple testing using the false discovery rate.
SGA children had a lower BMI z-score than non-SGA children at assessment age 3.5, 7 and 11 years. We confirmed 27 variants within 14 obesity risk genes to be individually associated with increasing early childhood BMI, predominantly in those born AGA.
Genetic risk variants are less important in influencing early childhood BMI in those born SGA than in those born AGA, suggesting that non-genetic or environmental factors may be more important in influencing childhood BMI in those born SGA.
BMI; Childhood obesity; AGA children; SGA children
To compare plasma catecholamine concentrations between cocaine-exposed and unexposed term newborns and to determine the relationship between plasma catecholamines and newborn behavior.
Forty-six newborn infants participating in a prospective study of the neonatal and long-term effects of prenatal cocaine exposure were studied. Based on maternal self-report, maternal urine screening, and infant meconium analysis, 24 infants were classified as cocaine-exposed and 22 as unexposed. Between 24 and 72 hours postpartum, plasma samples for norepinephrine (NE), epinephrine, dopamine, and dihydroxyphenylalanine analysis were obtained. The Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale was administered at 1 to 3 days of age and at 2 weeks of age by examiners masked to the drug exposure status of the newborns.
The cocaine-exposed newborns had increased plasma NE concentrations when compared to the unexposed infants (geometric mean, 923 pg/mL vs 667 pg/mL). There were no significant differences in plasma epinephrine, dopamine, or dihydroxyphenylalanine concentrations. Analysis for the effect of potential confounding variables revealed that maternal marijuana use was also associated with increased plasma NE, although birth weight, gender, and maternal use of alcohol or cigarettes were not. Geometric mean plasma NE was 1164 pg/mL in those infants with in utero exposure to both cocaine and marijuana compared to 812 pg/mL in those exposed to only cocaine and 667 pg/mL in those exposed to neither. Among the cocaine-exposed infants, plasma NE concentration correlated with an increased score for the depressed cluster (r = .53) and a decreased score for the orientation cluster (r = −.43) of the Neonatal Behavioral Assessment Scale administered at 1 to 3 days of age. Adjusting for marijuana exposure had no effect on these relationships between plasma NE and the depressed and orientation clusters.
Plasma NE is increased in newborns exposed to cocaine and marijuana. Increased plasma NE is associated with selected neurobehavioral disturbances among cocaine exposed infants at 1 to 3 days of life but not at 2 weeks.
Inconsistent data on the association between prenatal alcohol exposure and a range of pregnancy outcomes, such as preterm birth (PTB) and small for gestational age (SGA) raise new questions. This study aimed to assess whether the association between low-moderate prenatal alcohol exposure and PTB and SGA differs according to maternal education, maternal mental distress or maternal smoking.
The Amsterdam Born Children and their Development (ABCD) Study (N = 5,238) and the German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Children and Adolescents (KiGGS) (N = 16,301) are both large studies. Women provide information on alcohol intake in early pregnancy, 3 months postpartum and up to 17 years retrospectively. Multivariate logistic regression analyses and stratified regression analyses were performed to examine the association between prenatal alcohol exposure and PTB and SGA, respectively.
No association was found between any level of prenatal alcohol exposure (non-daily, daily, non-abstaining) and SGA. The offspring of daily drinkers and non-abstainers had a lower risk of PTB [ABCD: odds ratio (OR) 0.31, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.13, 0.77; KiGGS: OR 0.75, 95% CI 0.57, 0.99]. Interactions with maternal education, maternal distress or maternal smoking were not significant.
Although these results should be interpreted with caution, both studies showed no adverse effects of low-moderate prenatal alcohol exposure on PTB and SGA, not even in the offspring of women who were disadvantaged in terms of low education, high levels of distress, or smoking during pregnancy.
Prenatal alcohol exposure; Pregnancy outcomes; Maternal education; Distress; Smoking
Growth hormone (GH) treatment has become a frequently applied growth promoting therapy in short children born small for gestational age (SGA). Children born SGA have a higher risk of developing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Treatment of ADHD with methylphenidate (MP) has greatly increased in recent years, therefore more children are being treated with GH and MP simultaneously. Some studies have found an association between MP treatment and growth deceleration, but data are contradictory.
To explore the effects of MP treatment on growth in GH-treated short SGA children
Anthropometric measurements were performed in 78 GH-treated short SGA children (mean age 10.6 yr), 39 of whom were also treated with MP (SGA-GH/MP). The SGA-GH/MP group was compared to 39 SGA-GH treated subjects. They were matched for sex, age and height at start of GH, height SDS at start of MP treatment and target height SDS. Serum insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) and IGF binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3) levels were yearly determined. Growth, serum IGF-I and IGFBP-3 levels during the first three years of treatment were analyzed using repeated measures regression analysis.
The SGA-GH/MP group had a lower height gain during the first 3 years than the SGA-GH subjects, only significant between 6 and 12 months of MP treatment. After 3 years of MP treatment, the height gain was 0.2 SDS (±0.1 SD) lower in the SGA-GH/MP group (P = 0.17). Adult height was not significantly different between the SGA-GH/MP and SGA-GH group (−1.9 SDS and −1.9 SDS respectively, P = 0.46). Moreover, during the first 3 years of MP treatment IGF-I and IGFBP-3 measurements were similar in both groups.
MP has some negative effect on growth during the first years in short SGA children treated with GH, but adult height is not affected.
Being born small for gestational age (SGA), a proxy for intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) and prenatal famine exposure are both associated with a greater risk of metabolic disease. Both associations have been hypothesized to involve epigenetic mechanisms. We investigated whether prenatal growth restriction early in pregnancy was associated with changes in DNA methylation at loci that were previously shown to be sensitive to early gestational famine exposure. We compared 38 individuals born preterm (<32 weeks) and with a birth weight too low for their gestational age (less than −1SDS; SGA) with 75 individuals born preterm but with a birth weight appropriate for their gestational age (greater than −1SDS) and a normal postnatal growth (greater than −1SDS at three months post term; AGA). The SGA individuals were not only lighter at birth, but also had a smaller length (p = 3.3 × 10−13) and head circumference at birth (p = 4.1 × 10−13). The DNA methylation levels of IGF2, GNASAS, INSIGF and LEP were 48.5, 47.5, 79.4 and 25.7% respectively. This was not significantly different between SGA and AGA individuals. Risk factors for being born SGA, including preeclampsia and maternal smoking, were also not associated with DNA methylation at these loci. Growth restriction early in development is not associated with DNA methylation at loci shown to be affected by prenatal famine exposure. Our and previous results by others indicate that prenatal growth restriction and famine exposure may be associated with different epigenetic changes or non-epigenetic mechanisms that may lead to similar later health outcomes.
SGA; DOHAD; IUGR; DNA methylation; famine; IGF2; LEP; INS; GNASAS
AIM—To assess the relative
significance for cognitive development of small for gestational age,
parental demographic factors, and factors related to the child rearing environment.
METHODS—IQ of a population based
cohort of 338 term infants who were small for gestational age (SGA) and
without major handicap, and a random control sample of 335 appropriate
for gestational age (AGA) infants were compared at 5 years of age.
RESULTS—The mean non-verbal IQ was
four points lower, while the mean verbal IQ was three points lower for
the children in the SGA group. The results were not confounded by
parental demographic or child rearing factors. However, parental
factors, including maternal non-verbal problem solving abilities, and
child rearing style, accounted for 20% of the variance in non-verbal
IQ, while SGA versus AGA status accounted for only 2%. The comparable
numbers for verbal IQ were 30 and 1%. Furthermore, we found no
evidence that the cognitive development of SGA children was more
sensitive to a non-optimal child rearing environment than that of AGA
children. Maternal smoking at conception was associated with a
reduction in mean IQ comparable to that found for SGA status, and this
effect was the same for SGA and AGA children. The cognitive function of
asymmetric SGA was comparable to that of symmetric SGA children.
CONCLUSIONS—Our findings indicate
that child cognitive development is strongly associated with parental
factors, but only marginally associated with intrauterine growth retardation.