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Neurotoxicol Teratol. 2004 Sep-Oct;26(5):617-27.

Four-year language outcomes of children exposed to cocaine in utero.

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Department of Pediatrics, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, 10900 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA.


A large cohort of children exposed to cocaine in utero (n=189) were followed prospectively from birth to 4 years of age and compared to nonexposed children (n=185) on the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals-Preschool (CELF-P), a measure of receptive and expressive language abilities. Children exposed to cocaine in utero performed more poorly on the expressive and total language measures than nonexposed children after controlling for confounding variables, including prenatal exposure to alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco, as well as medical and sociodemographic variables. Children exposed to cocaine had more mild receptive language delays than nonexposed children and were less likely to have higher expressive abilities. Also, maternal factors such as language ability, performance IQ, race, and education correlated with child language abilities. Prenatal cigarette and marijuana exposure were related to deficits in specific language skills. Children placed in adoptive or foster care who were cocaine exposed demonstrated superior language skills compared to children exposed to cocaine who remained in biological relative or mother's care. These findings support a cocaine-specific effect on language skills in early childhood that may be modified with an enriched environment.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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