More on Pediatrics on MedicalResearch.com
MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Lynne M. Smith, MD FAAP
LA BioMed lead researcher
Vice Chair for Academic Affairs
Professor of Clinical Pediatrics
Department of Pediatrics Division of Neonatology
Medical Director, High Risk Infant Follow-up Program
Associate Program Director, Neonatal-Perinatal Fellowship Training Program
Co-Director, Third Year Medical Student Clerkship
Founding co-Leader, Schwartz Rounds at Harbor-UCLA
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA Harbor-UCLA Medical Center
Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr. Smith: It is the first study of its kind, and it holds hope for improving outcomes for children exposed to the methamphetamine in the womb. The study found that while prenatal methamphetamine exposure can lead to targeted behavioral issues, a supportive home environment significantly decreases the severity and risk of these issues.
The study is a follow-up to the Infant Development, Environment and Lifestyle (IDEAL) study, which is a prospective, multi-center, longitudinal study of children exposed to methamphetamine in the womb. It is designed to address some of the limitations of earlier studies.
The IDEAL study enrolled children from Los Angeles; Des Moines, IA; Tulsa, OK, and Honolulu, HI, who had been exposed to methamphetamine in utero. Previous reports from the IDEAL study documented the outcomes up to age 5 and found emotional issues and attention deficit hyperactivity disorders in the children with prenatal methamphetamine exposure.
The new study surveyed 290 children enrolled in IDEAL up to age 7.5 years and found a strong relation between prenatal methamphetamine exposure and rule-breaking and aggressive behavior. It also found a strong relation between adversities in the home and rule-breaking and aggressive behavior. Among the adverse conditions considered were maternal substance abuse, extreme poverty, changes in the primary caregiver, sexual abuse of the caregiver and maternal depression.
The researchers concluded that while prenatal methamphetamine exposure is strongly related to behavioral and emotional control issues, early adversities may be a strong determinant of behavioral outcomes.