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Neurotoxicol Teratol. 2010 Nov-Dec;32(6):580-8. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2010 Jun 30.

Effects of prenatal tobacco, alcohol and marijuana exposure on processing speed, visual-motor coordination, and interhemispheric transfer.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.


Deficits in motor control are often reported in children with prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE). Less is known about the effects of prenatal tobacco exposure (PTE) and prenatal marijuana exposure (PME) on motor coordination, and previous studies have not considered whether PTE, PAE, and PME interact to affect motor control. This study investigated the effects of PTE, PAE, and PME as well as current drug use on speed of processing, visual-motor coordination, and interhemispheric transfer in 16-year-old adolescents. Data were collected as part of the Maternal Health Practices and Child Development Project. Adolescents (age 16, n=320) participating in a longitudinal study of the effects of prenatal substance exposure on developmental outcomes were evaluated in this study. The computerized Bimanual Coordination Test (BCT) was used to assess each domain of function. Other important variables, such as demographics, home environment, and psychological characteristics of the mother and adolescent were also considered in the analyses. There were significant and independent effects of PTE, PAE, and PME on processing speed and interhemispheric transfer of information. PTE and PME were associated with deficits in visual-motor coordination. There were no interactions between PAE, PTE, and PME. Current tobacco use predicted deficits in speed of processing. Current alcohol and marijuana use by the offspring were not associated with any measures of performance on the BCT.

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