Meth Babies Behavior
March 21, 2012 by staff
Meth Babies Behavior, The first study to look at methamphetamine’s potential lasting effects on children whose mothers used it in pregnancy finds these kids at higher risk for behavior problems than other children.
The behavior differences – anxiety, depression, moodiness – weren’t huge, but lead researcher Linda LaGasse called them “very worrisome.”
Methamphetamine is a stimulant like crack cocaine, and earlier research showed meth babies have similarities to so-called “crack babies” – smaller in size and prone to drowsiness and stress. Results in long-term studies conflict on whether children of cocaine-using mothers have lasting behavior problems.
Whether problems persist in young children of meth users is unknown. But LaGasse, who does research at Brown University’s Center of the Study of Children at Risk, said methamphetamine has stronger effects on the brain so it may be more likely to cause lasting effects in children.
The study was published online Monday in Pediatrics. The National Institutes of Health paid for the research, including a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Government data suggest more than 10 million Americans have used meth; fewer than 1 percent of pregnant women are users.
Joseph Frascella, who heads a behavioral division at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, said the research is among “groundbreaking” studies examining effects of substance abuse during pregnancy.
But because the study is a first, the results should be viewed cautiously and need to be repeated, he said.
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