Smoking During Pregnancy Linked to Impulsivity in Offspring
the MPR take:
Smoking during pregnancy could be tied to greater impulsivity in the offspring as an adult and ADHD symptoms during childhood, say the authors of a study in JAMA Psychiatry. 178 mothers and their 25-year-old children were analyzed using MRI scans to measure brain volume differences and response inhibition; the 38 adults who were exposed prenatally to cigarette smoking had less responsiveness in areas related to inhibition control compared to the 140 adults not exposed prenatally. Those exposed to smoking prenatally also had greater ADHD symptoms between ages 2–15 compared to those with non-smoking mothers. Approximately 11% of European females smoke during pregnancy, as do about 10% of women in the U.S.
People whose mothers smoked during pregnancy had weaker responses in the regions of their brains known to be involved in inhibition control, compared to those whose mothers didn't smoke, researchers found. “What's quite surprising is to find such a reliable effect of prenatal smoke exposure that occurred 25 years before,” Nathalie Holz said.
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