Systematic Review of Prenatal Cocaine Exposure and Adolescent Development

Department of Pediatrics, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland.
PEDIATRICS (Impact Factor: 5.3). 05/2013; 131(6). DOI: 10.1542/peds.2012-0945
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE:Previous research found that prenatal cocaine exposure (PCE) may increase children's vulnerability to behavior and cognition problems. Maturational changes in brain and social development make adolescence an ideal time to reexamine associations. The objective was to conduct a systematic review of published studies examining associations between PCE and adolescent development (behavior, cognition/school outcomes, physiologic responses, and brain morphology/functioning).METHODS:Articles were obtained from PubMed, PsycInfo, Web of Science, and CINAHL databases through July 2012 with search terms: prenatal drug, substance, or cocaine exposure; adolescence/adolescent; and in utero substance/drug exposure. Criteria for inclusion were nonexposed comparison group, human adolescents aged 11 to 19, peer-reviewed, English-language, and adolescent outcomes.RESULTS:Twenty-seven studies representing 9 cohorts met the criteria. Four outcome categories were identified: behavior, cognition/school performance, brain structure/function, and physiologic responses. Eleven examined behavior; 7 found small but significant differences favoring nonexposed adolescents, with small effect sizes. Eight examined cognition/school performance; 6 reported significantly lower scores on language and memory tasks among adolescents with PCE, with varying effect sizes varied. Eight examined brain structure/function and reported morphologic differences with few functional differences. Three examined physiologic responses with discordant findings. Most studies controlled for other prenatal exposures, caregiving environment, and violence exposure; few examined mechanisms.CONCLUSIONS:Consistent with findings among younger children, PCE increases the risk for small but significantly less favorable adolescent functioning. Although the clinical importance of differences is often unknown, the caregiving environment and violence exposure pose additional threats. Future research should investigate mechanisms linking PCE with adolescent functioning.

1 Bookmark
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Substance use has increased worldwide. Based on these data, we may think that substance use has also increased during pregnancy, but epidemiological data are scarce in this population. The potential consequences of tobacco, cocaine or cannabis use during pregnancy are a major public health concern. The combined use of different substances during pregnancy may have serious consequences on the pregnancy and on child development. In this paper, we will describe the potential consequences for the newborn, child and adolescent after being exposed to tobacco, cannabis and cocaine in utero. For this purpose, we will review all retrospective and prospective studies (in English and French) referenced in PubMed reporting on the somatic or psychiatric consequences of alcohol, tobacco and drug consumption by pregnant women on newborn and children. Consumption during pregnancy was assessed in these studies using simple questionnaires, biomarkers analysis or both. Generally speaking, these pregnancies are at high risk for both the mother and the foetus: for example, an increased risk of miscarriage or of reduced length of gestation, an increased risk of uterine apoplexy and placenta praevia, more premature births and/or hypotrophy were reported. The occurrence of a newborn's withdrawal syndrome may be misdiagnosed. Many consequences on child development may be observed such as growth disorders, learning or motor disorders, language disorders, cognitive disorders (attention, memory, executive functions), attention deficit disorders with impulsivity or with hyperactivity (ADHD), and memory disorders. The prevalence of depressive or anxiety disorders may also be increased in these children. The risk of addictive disorders or schizophrenia in children exposed in utero to illicit drugs or tobacco is still unknown. The combined use of different substances increases, consequently it is difficult to disentangle the consequences on child development of each of the drugs used during pregnancy owing to potential interactions between these drugs. The consequences on child development will also depend on the dose and on the time of drug use during pregnancy. The National Institute of Drug Abuse reported that 75% of the infants exposed in utero to one or more substances will present medical problems during childhood, as compared to only 27% of the non-exposed infants. However, the medical consequences are still a matter of controversies. Methodological biases, such as the use of different rating scales among studies, and the heterogeneity of the populations included are main limitations. Further studies are needed using larger cohorts and longer follow-up periods. Copyright © 2014 L’Encéphale, Paris. Published by Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Prenatal cocaine exposure (PCE) has been linked to child behavior problems and risky behavior during adolescence such as early substance use. Behavior problems and early substance use are associated with earlier initiation of sexual behavior. The goal of this study was to examine the direct and indirect effects of PCE on sexual initiation in a longitudinal birth cohort, about half of whom were exposed to cocaine in utero. Women were interviewed twice prenatally, at delivery, and 1, 3, 7, 10, 15, and 21 years postpartum. Offspring (52% female, 54% African American) were assessed at delivery and at each follow-up phase with age-appropriate assessments. At age 21, 225 offspring reported on their substance use and sexual behavior. First trimester cocaine exposure was a significant predictor of earlier age of first intercourse in a survival analysis, after controlling for race, sociodemographic characteristics, caregiver pre- and postnatal substance use, parental supervision, and child's pubertal timing. However, the association between PCE and age of first sexual intercourse was mediated by adolescent marijuana and alcohol use prior to age 15. Most of the effect of PCE on age of sexual initiation occurred between the ages of 13-18, when rates of initiation were approximately 10% higher among exposed offspring. This effect was mediated by early adolescent substance use. These results have implications for identification of the exposed offspring at greatest risk of HIV risk behaviors and early, unplanned pregnancy. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
    Drug and Alcohol Dependence 12/2014; 145:194-200. DOI:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2014.10.011 · 3.28 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Neuropsychological processes such as attention and memory contribute to children's higher-level cognitive and language functioning and predict academic achievement. The goal of this analysis was to evaluate whether level of intrauterine cocaine exposure (IUCE) alters multiple aspects of preadolescents' neuropsychological functioning assessed using a single age-referenced instrument, the NEPSY: A Developmental Neuropsychological Assessment (NEPSY) [71], after controlling for relevant covariates. Participants included 137 term 9.5-year-old children from low-income urban backgrounds (51% male, 90% African American/Caribbean) from an ongoing prospective longitudinal study. Level of IUCE was assessed in the newborn period using infant meconium and maternal report. 52% of the children had IUCE (65% with lighter IUCE, and 35% with heavier IUCE), and 48% were unexposed. Infants with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, HIV seropositivity, or intrauterine exposure to illicit substances other than cocaine and marijuana were excluded. At the 9.5-year follow-up visit, trained examiners masked to IUCE and background variables evaluated children's neuropsychological functioning using the NEPSY. The association between level of IUCE and NEPSY outcomes was evaluated in a series of linear regressions controlling for intrauterine exposure to other substances and relevant child, caregiver, and demographic variables. Results indicated that level of IUCE was associated with lower scores on the Auditory Attention and Narrative Memory tasks, both of which require auditory information processing and sustained attention for successful performance. However, results did not follow the expected ordinal, dose-dependent pattern. Children's neuropsychological test scores were also altered by a variety of other biological and psychosocial factors.
    Neurotoxicology and Teratology 06/2014; 45. DOI:10.1016/ · 3.22 Impact Factor