Effects of prenatal smoking on infant neurodevelopment may be worse than feared: study

 

Chicago, Ill., USA (August 22, 2011) – In one of the largest studies of its kind to date, researchers have found that babies born to mothers who smoke while pregnant face substantial delays in early neurological development, and the effects may be stronger than researchers had previously thought.

 

According to the study, published in the Journal of Human Capital, smoking may cause as much as a 40 percentage point increase in the probability of being at risk of developmental problems in babies between 3 and 24 months old. The effects were strongest among children from poor families, the research found.

 

"This study underscores the dangers of prenatal smoking," said George Wehby, a professor at the University of Iowa’s College of Public Health and the study’s lead author. "We hope it also highlights the need for continued efforts to discourage expectant mothers from smoking."

 

Study subjects were recruited from health clinics in Argentina, Brazil, and Chile. In all, nearly 1,600 children were included, making this one of the largest studies of prenatal smoking and neurodevelopment. The researchers surveyed mothers about their smoking habits, and neurological screening, which included cognitive tests and assessments of communication and basic neurological function, were administered to children by trained physicians.

 

Nearly 11 percent of mothers in the sample had smoked during pregnancy.

 

Part of the reason smoking affects poor children to a greater degree is that poor mothers who smoke tend to do so in greater quantity, the study found. But the number of cigarettes doesn’t fully explain the difference. "Being of higher socioeconomic status may offset some of the adverse smoking effects through better health behaviors and improved access to prenatal care," Wehby said.

 

Previous studies have found similar adverse effects of prenatal smoking, but no previous work has tried to isolate the smoking effect from other potentially confounding factors, the researchers say. For example, mothers who smoke may also be more likely to drink and engage in other activities that could harm their babies. If that’s the case, then studies may overestimate the adverse effects of cigarettes. On the other hand, women who have high risk pregnancies have an extra incentive to avoid smoking, but still have babies with reduced neurodevelopment. If that’s the case, then studies may underestimate the effects of smoking.

 

Wehby and his team used a statistical technique that helps to account for these biases, which are difficult to observe directly. They took advantage of differences in smoking behaviors across the geographic locations of the mothers. Geographic differences in smoking are expected to be caused by variation in cigarettes prices and smoking policies, but are unlikely to be related to the unobservable individual-level preference for taking risk. This control allows the researchers to pin-point the smoking effect specifically.

 

With the controls in place, the smoking effect was found to be stronger than without them, suggesting previous studies that didn’t use such controls had actually underestimated the effects of smoking.

 

Despite increased awareness of the dangers of smoking, rates of prenatal smoking remain surprisingly high. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 12 percent of pregnant American women reported that they smoked while pregnant in 2005.

 

"Given the importance of early child health and neurodevelopment for future wellbeing, targeted interventions to reduce prenatal smoking may result in significant improvements in child development and long-run human capital," Wehby said.

 

 

  • George L. Wehby, Kaitlin Prater, Ann Marie McCarthy, Eduardo E. Castilla, Jeffrey C. Murray, "The Impact of Maternal Smoking during Pregnancy on Early Child Neurodevelopment." Journal of Human Capital 5:2 (Summer 2011).

 

 

The Journal of Human Capital

 

is the latest addition to the University of Chicago Press’s prestigious family of economics journals. It is edited by Isaac Ehrlich of the University at Buffalo and an editorial board of top economists.

 

 


University of Chicago, 22.08.2011 Nursing News (tB).

MEDICAL NEWS

COVID-19 vaccines are estimated to have prevanented 20 million deaths…
Novel sleep education learning modules developed for nurse practitioners
Inadequate sequencing of SARS-CoV-2 variants impedes global response to COVID-19
New meta-analysis finds cannabis may be linked to development of…
New guidance on how to diagnosis and manage osteoporosis in…

SCHMERZ PAINCARE

Aktuelle Versorgungssituation der Opioidtherapie im Fokus
Individuelle Schmerztherapie mit Opioiden: Patienten im Mittelpunkt
Versorgung verbessern: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Schmerzmedizin fordert die Einführung des…
Pflegeexpertise im Fokus: Schmerzmanagement nach Operationen
Versorgung verbessern: Bundesweite Initiative der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Schmerzmedizin zu…

DIABETES

Typ-1-Diabetes: InRange – auf die Zeit im Zielbereich kommt es…
Suliqua®: In komplexem Umfeld – einfach besser eingestellt
Suliqua®: Überlegene HbA1c-Senkung  im Vergleich zu Mischinsulinanalogon
„Wissen was bei Diabetes zählt: Gesünder unter 7 PLUS“ gibt…
Toujeo® bei Typ-1-Diabetes: Weniger schwere Hypoglykämien und weniger Ketoazidosen 

ERNÄHRUNG

Mangelernährung gefährdet den Behandlungserfolg — DGEM: Ernährungsscreening sollte zur klinischen…
Wie eine Diät die Darmflora beeinflusst: Krankenhauskeim spielt wichtige Rolle…
DGEM plädiert für Screening und frühzeitige Aufbautherapie: Stationäre COVID-19-Patienten oft…
Führt eine vegane Ernährungsweise zu einer geringeren Knochengesundheit?
Regelmässiger Koffeinkonsum verändert Hirnstrukturen

ONKOLOGIE

Krebspatienten unter Immuntherapie: Kein Hinweis auf erhöhtes Risiko für schwere…
WHO veröffentlicht erste Klassifikation von Tumoren im Kindesalter
Anti-Myelom-Therapie mit zusätzlich Daratumumab noch effektiver
Positive Ergebnisse beim fortgeschrittenen Prostatakarzinom: Phase-III-Studie zur Radioligandentherapie mit 177Lu-PSMA-617
Lymphom-News vom EHA2021 Virtual. Alle Berichte sind nun online verfügbar!

MULTIPLE SKLEROSE

Multiple Sklerose durch das Epstein-Barr-Virus – kommt die MS-Impfung?
Neuer Therapieansatz für Multiple Sklerose und Alzheimer
„Ich messe meine Multiple Sklerose selbst!“ – Digitales Selbstmonitoring der…
Stellungnahme zur 3. Impfung gegen SARS-CoV2 bei Personen mit MS
NMOSD-Erkrankungen: Zulassung von Satralizumab zur Behandlung von Jugendlichen und Erwachsenen

PARKINSON

Alexa, bekomme ich Parkinson?
Meilenstein in der Parkinson-Frühdiagnose
Parkinson-Erkrankte besonders stark von Covid-19 betroffen
Gangstörungen durch Kleinhirnschädigung beim atypischen Parkinson-Syndrom
Parkinson-Agenda 2030: Die kommenden 10 Jahre sind für die therapeutische…