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Pediatrics. 1985 Feb;75(2):269-74.

Factors affecting head growth and intellectual function in children of drug addicts.


The effect of maternal heroin and methadone use on head growth and neurodevelopmental performance was studied in preschool children of untreated heroin addicts (n = 25), women receiving methadone therapy (n = 26), and a drug-free comparison group (n = 41) who had been followed from birth. The mean birth head circumference of both groups of drug-exposed infants was significantly below that of the comparison group; however, the only factors determined by multiple regression analysis as associated with head size at birth were maternal nutritional status and birth weight. By preschool age, head size did not differ significantly among groups. The factors associated with postnatal head growth were birth weight, intrapartum risk score, and race. Data show an increased incidence of low-average and mildly retarded intellectual performance in the drug-exposed children. Regression analyses demonstrated that amount of prenatal care, prenatal risk score, and home environment were most predictive of intellectual performance and that the degree of maternal narcotic use was not a significant factor.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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