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Neurotoxicol Teratol. 2006 Mar-Apr;28(2):286-95. Epub 2006 Feb 13.

Effects of prenatal marijuana on visuospatial working memory: an fMRI study in young adults.

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Department of Psychology, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1N 6N5.


The long lasting neurophysiological effects of prenatal marijuana exposure on visuospatial working memory were investigated in 18-22 year olds using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The participants are members of the Ottawa Prenatal Prospective Study (OPPS), a longitudinal study that provides a unique body of information collected from each participant over 20 years, including prenatal drug history, detailed cognitive/behavioral performance from infancy to young adulthood, and current and past drug usage. This information allowed for the control of potentially confounding drug exposure variables in the statistical analyses. Thirty-one offspring from the OPPS (16 prenatally exposed and 15 nonexposed) performed a visuospatial 2-back task while neural activity was imaged with fMRI. Cognitive performance data were also collected. No significant performance differences were observed when comparing controls versus exposed participants. Multiple regression analyses (including controls with no exposure) revealed that as the amount of prenatal marijuana exposure increased, there was significantly more neural activity in the left inferior and middle frontal gyri, left parahippocampal gyrus, left middle occipital gyrus and left cerebellum. There was also significantly less activity in right inferior and middle frontal gyri. These results suggest that prenatal marijuana exposure alters neural functioning during visuospatial working memory processing in young adulthood.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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