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Psychoneuroendocrinology. 1995;20(4):439-49.

Effects of early prenatal dexamethasone on the cognitive and behavioral development of young children: results of a pilot study.

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Department of Psychiatry, Cornell Medical College, New York, New York 10021, USA.


The effect of early prenatal dexamethasone (DEX) exposure on cognitive and behavioral development, behavior problems, and temperament were examined in 26 consecutively identified children aged 6 mo to 5 1/2 years, whose mothers had been DEX-treated during pregnancy because their offspring was at risk for congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), and compared with 14 children from untreated CAH-risk pregnancies. Three children in each group were CAH-affected. Assessments were performed by way of mother-completed standard questionnaires. No significant differences in cognitive abilities or behavior problems were identified. On temperament questionnaires, DEX-exposed children showed more Shyness (p < .004), greater Emotionality (p < .03), less Sociability (p < .04), and a trend for greater Avoiddance (p < .07) than unexposed children. DEX-exposed children also had significantly higher Internalizing (p < .002) and Total Problem scores (p < .05) on the behavior problem measure for 2-3 year olds. The results should be considered preliminary until they have been replicated by the study of a larger sample and direct examination of the children.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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