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Neurotoxicol Teratol. 2005 May-Jun;27(3):429-38. Epub 2005 Mar 29.

Prenatal drug exposure and selective attention in preschoolers.

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Vanderbilt University, Department of Psychology and Human Development, Peabody College #512, 230 Appleton Place, Nashville, TN 37203-5701, USA.


Deficits in sustained attention and impulsivity have previously been demonstrated in preschoolers prenatally exposed to cocaine. We assessed an additional component of attention, selective attention, in a large, poly-substance cocaine-exposed cohort of 4 year olds and their at-risk comparison group. Employing postpartum maternal report and biological assay, we assigned children to overlapping exposed and complementary control groups for maternal use of cocaine, alcohol, marijuana, and cigarettes. Maternal pregnancy use of cocaine and use of cigarettes were both associated with increased commission errors, indicative of inferior selective attention. Severity of maternal use of marijuana during pregnancy was positively correlated with omission errors, suggesting impaired sustained attention. Substance exposure effects were independent of maternal postpartum psychological distress, birth mother cognitive functioning, current caregiver functioning, other substance exposures and child concurrent verbal IQ.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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