Researchers ID Brain Abnormalities In Children Exposed To Methamphetamine In Utero
Posted Mar 16 2010 4:10pm
It has long been known that alcohol exposure is toxic to the developing fetus and can result in lifelong brain, cognitive and behavioral problems. Now, a new report out of UCLA shows that the effects of prenatal methamphetamine exposure — or worse, a combination of methamphetamine and alcohol — may be even more damaging.
Reporting in the March 17 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, UCLA professor of neurology Elizabeth Sowell and her colleagues used structural magnetic resonance imaging (sMRI) to show for the first time that individuals whose mothers abused methamphetamine during pregnancy, with or without alcohol abuse, had structural abnormalities in the brain that were more severe than those seen in children whose mothers abused alcohol alone.
The researchers identified the brain structures that are vulnerable in such exposure, which may help predict particular learning and behavioral problems in methamphetamine-exposed children.