Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers link maternal smoking during pregnancy to behavior problems in toddlers

17.07.2006
A University of Illinois at Chicago study reveals a link between smoking during pregnancy and very early child behavior problems.

The research, published in the July/August issue of the journal Child Development, found that 2-year-olds regularly exposed to cigarette smoke in utero were nearly 12 times more likely to show clinical levels of behavior problems compared to toddlers who were not exposed.

"The ability to identify these disruptive behavior patterns in exposed children, even at this young age, is very striking," said Lauren Wakschlag, associate professor of psychiatry at the UIC College of Medicine's Institute for Juvenile Research and lead author of the study.

Researchers evaluated 93 children between their first and second birthdays. Forty-four children were exposed to cigarette smoke before birth, and among those exposed, nearly half of their mothers reported smoking more than half a pack a day.

The behaviors of exposed and non-exposed toddlers were compared to determine if early signs of disruptive behavior were evident in young children.

According to Wakschlag, toddlers prenatally exposed to cigarette smoke showed markedly different behavior patterns. Although many toddlers exhibit mild behavioral problems during this period, known as the "terrible twos," the behavior problems of exposed toddlers significantly increased between 18 and 24 months of age compared to the milder, more stable patterns of non-exposed toddlers.

Wakschlag and her colleagues had previously reported links between prenatal smoking and antisocial behavior in older youth. Discovering that these patterns are evident as early as the first years of life has important implications for understanding the origins of psychiatric disorder.

"These findings suggest that for some children the roots of problem behavior may occur before they are born," said Wakschlag.

Disruptive behavior is multi-faceted, according to Wakschlag, and includes aggression, irritability, rule breaking and poor social skills.

To test which aspects of behavior are problematic for exposed children, the researchers also observed the toddlers' behavior in the laboratory. They found that exposed toddlers were more defiant, aggressive and had poorer social skills, but were not more irritable. This is important because different components of disruptive behavior reflect functioning within different areas of the brain.

While the study highlights increasing evidence of long-term problems associated with smoking during pregnancy, Wakschlag cautions that it does not prove smoking during pregnancy causes behavior problems.

"This study is another piece to this complex puzzle," said Wakschlag. "It moves us one step closer to figuring out whether smoking during pregnancy plays a causal role in the development of behavior problems. By pinpointing which behaviors are involved, it sets the stage for the next set of studies which can more precisely characterize the relevant behaviors and their associated brain regions in exposed children."

Wakschlag and colleagues are currently conducting a follow-up study, funded by the National Institute of Drug Abuse, of behavioral patterns in prenatally exposed teenagers and how prenatal smoking may interact with genetic risk to contribute to problem behaviors.

"By the time parents seek help for children's disruptive behavior problems, these problems have often caused significant pain and suffering to the children, their families and society at large. Whether or not smoking during pregnancy causes behavior problems, this study highlights the importance of early identification and prevention.

"If we can detect problem patterns even at this young age, we should use this as an opportunity to help children get back on track rather than waiting until more serious problems develop," said Wakschlag.

Sherri McGinnis Gonzalez | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uic.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht On track to heal leukaemia
18.01.2017 | Universitätsspital Bern

nachricht Penn vet research identifies new target for taming Ebola
12.01.2017 | University of Pennsylvania

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A big nano boost for solar cells

18.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Glass's off-kilter harmonies

18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Toward a 'smart' patch that automatically delivers insulin when needed

18.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>