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Neuropsychol Rev. 2000 Mar;10(1):1-40.

Does smoking by pregnant women influence IQ, birth weight, and developmental disabilities in their infants? A methodological review and multivariate analysis.

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Department of Educational Psychology, Texas A&M University, College Station 77843-4225, USA.


Neuropsychologists are asked frequently to address the issue of the cause of a variety of central nervous system problems that may affect higher cortical function. One such issue is the relationship of maternal smoking to adverse reproductive outcomes involving neocortical insult including mental retardation, learning disabilities, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, and other insults that may be related to prolonged hypoxic states in utero. The instant paper develops the issue of causation as a scientific inquiry, reviews several traditional, applicable models, and critiques these models. An additional model of motility is proposed and discussed. The issue of the relationship of maternal smoking to adverse reproductive outcomes is then addressed from a review perspective along with new empirical analyses, the latter demonstrating that researchers tend to draw causal conclusions independent of whether the respective design of their studies would support conclusions about the causation of an event. Causal conclusions in the absence of causal designs have often lead to incomplete and incorrect conclusions. It is necessary to match conclusions not only to the outcomes of a research project but also to its design and accompanying limitations.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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