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Neurotoxicol Teratol. 2006 Jan-Feb;28(1):28-38. Epub 2005 Nov 18.

Dysmorphic and anthropometric outcomes in 6-year-old prenatally cocaine-exposed children.

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Department of General Medical Sciences, Case Western Reserve University, 11400 Euclid Avenue, The Triangle, Suite 250, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA.


Dysmorphologic and anthropometric assessments were performed on 154 6-year-old children prenatally exposed to cocaine (PCE) and 131 high-risk controls (NCE) of similar race and social class. Adjusted mean height z scores demonstrated a dose-response with metahydroxybenzoylecgonine above a threshold of 100 ng/g of meconium and greater cocaine exposure predicted lower weight for height z score. Higher average alcohol exposure throughout pregnancy and 3rd trimester predicted lower head circumference and weight z scores, respectively. Severity of marijuana use also predicted lower height for age but greater weight for height. There was not an increased rate of minor anomalies among the PCE cohort, nor was a consistent phenotype identified. After controlling for covariates, higher average prenatal cigarette exposure predicted higher incidence of cranial facial abnormalities. First trimester alcohol exposure predicted greater rates of ear abnormalities and third trimester marijuana exposure predicted greater rates of chest and head shape abnormalities. These finding indicate that prenatal cocaine exposure has a negative effect on specific growth outcomes including standardized height and weight for height, but not a systematic pattern of structural abnormalities.

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