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Mom's Meth Use May Affect Kids' Behavior
By Todd Neale, Senior Staff Writer, MedPage Today
Published: March 19, 2012

Reviewed by Dori F. Zaleznik, MD; Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston.

Action Points
This prospective cohort study found that children 3 and 5 years of age who were exposed to methamphetamines in utero displayed behavior problems more often than matched unexposed controls.
Note that behavior problems were determined by caregiver answers to a questionnaire administered by a study interviewer.
Women who use methamphetamine during pregnancy may be placing their unborn children at risk for behavioral problems during childhood, researchers found.

At ages 3 and 5, children who had been exposed to methamphetamine in the womb had greater emotional reactivity (P=0.006) and higher levels of anxiety and depression (P=0.019) than their unexposed peers, according to Linda LaGasse, PhD, of Brown University in Providence, R.I., and colleagues.

Also, at age 5 only, exposure was associated with externalizing behavior problems (acting out) and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms, the researchers reported online ahead of the April issue of Pediatrics.

"The ability to identify specific behavioral syndromes in children as early as preschool age could lead to the development of preventive intervention programs," they wrote, adding that early intervention "may prevent escalation into delinquency and psychopathology."

Methamphetamine is used by more people around the world than cocaine and opiates combined and, unlike other drugs, methamphetamine is used for the first time more often by women than by men.

That raises concerns about the effects of prenatal exposure to methamphetamine, which has been associated with adverse effects on fetal growth, infant neurobehavior, and fine motor function. Little is known, however, about the potential impact on early childhood behavior.

So the researchers turned to the Infant Development, Environment, and Lifestyle (IDEAL) study, a prospective, longitudinal study of prenatal methamphetamine exposure using participants from Los Angeles, Honolulu, Des Moines, Iowa, and Tulsa, Okla.

Methamphetamine use during pregnancy was either reported by the mothers or confirmed by a meconium screen. Women in the comparison group denied using methamphetamine and had a negative meconium screen.

The current analysis included 166 children who had been exposed to methamphetamine and 164 who had not. They were assessed for behavior problems at ages 3 and 5 using the caregiver-reported Child Behavior Checklist administered by a study interviewer.

After adjustment for numerous potential confounders -- including environmental risk and prenatal exposure to cigarettes, alcohol, and marijuana -- prenatal methamphetamine exposure was associated with some behavior problems in the children.

The significantly greater levels of externalizing and ADHD symptoms in the exposed children at age 5 were the result of decreases in these symptoms in the comparison group, but not in the methamphetamine-exposed group.

Heavy use of methamphetamine -- defined as use at least three days a week during pregnancy -- was associated with attention problems and withdrawn behavior at both ages. Prenatal methamphetamine exposure was not, however, associated with internalizing behavior or total behavioral problems.

The findings on externalizing behaviors in the current study are consistent with studies of prenatal cocaine exposure, despite differences in study populations. The cocaine studies were mostly conducted with inner-city, black, low-income, poorly educated mothers, while the IDEAL study was conducted with mostly non-black, working class, and educated mothers from rural areas.

"Despite adjustment for demographic factors, the population differences suggest that these effects on behavior problems are quite robust and may have substantial public health implications, because problems as noted on the Child Behavior Checklist tend to persist over time and predict later psychopathology and criminal behavior that place tremendous burdens on society," the authors wrote.

They acknowledged that the findings might not be generalizable to all women who use methamphetamine during pregnancy and that the study may be limited by recall bias regarding the use of methamphetamine during pregnancy and by reporting bias regarding children's behavior.

Funding was provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and in part by the National Center for Research Resources. The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

The authors reported that they had no conflicts of interest.

Primary source: Pediatrics
Source reference:
LaGasse L, et al "Prenatal methamphetamine exposure and childhood behavior problems at 3 and 5 years of age" Pediatrics 2012; 129: 681-688; DOI: 10.1542/peds.2011-2209.

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Please make note that I, Jessica Lynn Hepner the creator of What Every Parent Should Know, is not giving legal advice. I am not a lawyer. I am giving you knowledge via first hand experiences.
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Save A Life by Angie Kassabie

Save A Life by Angie Kassabie
I URGE ALL MY FRIENDS TO READ & SHARE THIS; YOU COULD SAVE A LOVED ONES LIFE BY KNOWING THIS SIMPLE INFORMATION!!! Stroke has a new indicator! They say if you forward this to ten people, you stand a chance of saving one life. Will you send this along? Blood Clots/Stroke - They Now Have a Fourth Indicator, the Tongue: During a BBQ, a woman stumbled and took a little fall - she assured everyone that she was fine (they offered to call paramedics) ...she said she had just tripped over a brick because of her new shoes. They got her cleaned up and got her a new plate of food. While she appeared a bit shaken up, Jane went about enjoying herself the rest of the evening. Jane's husband called later telling everyone that his wife had been taken to the hospital - (at 6:00 PM Jane passed away.) She had suffered a stroke at the BBQ. Had they known how to identify the signs of a stroke, perhaps Jane would be with us today. Some don't die. They end up in a helpless, hopeless condition instead. It only takes a minute to read this. A neurologist says that if he can get to a stroke victim within 3 hours he can totally reverse the effects of a stroke...totally. He said the trick was getting a stroke recognized, diagnosed, and then getting the patient medically cared for within 3 hours, which is tough. >>RECOGNIZING A STROKE<< Thank God for the sense to remember the '3' steps, STR. Read and Learn! Sometimes symptoms of a stroke are difficult to identify. Unfortunately, the lack of awareness spells disaster. The stroke victim may suffer severe brain damage when people nearby fail to recognize the symptoms of a stroke. Now doctors say a bystander can recognize a stroke by asking three simple questions: S *Ask the individual to SMILE. T *Ask the person to TALK and SPEAK A SIMPLE SENTENCE (Coherently) (i.e. Chicken Soup) R *Ask him or her to RAISE BOTH ARMS. If he or she has trouble with ANY ONE of these tasks, call emergency number immediately and describe the symptoms to the dispatcher. New Sign of a Stroke -------- Stick out Your Tongue NOTE: Another 'sign' of a stroke is this: Ask the person to 'stick' out his tongue. If the tongue is 'crooked', if it goes to one side or the other that is also an indication of a stroke. A cardiologist says if everyone who gets this e-mail sends it to 10 people; you can bet that at least one life will be saved. I have done my part. Will you?

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