Document Detail

Prenatal cocaine exposure and prolonged focus attention. Poor infant information processing ability or precocious maturation of attentional systems?
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  19372695     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
In experimental models, prenatal cocaine exposure has been found to perturb monoaminergic development of systems implicated in modulating attention. To determine whether prenatal cocaine exposure affects infant attention, we assessed visual recognition memory and focused attention during free play. We enrolled at birth 380 infants, 113 cocaine exposed, using multiple biomarkers to assess drug exposure. Behavior was videotaped and coded off-line for sustained looking time (i.e. focused attention), banging and intrusion. Prenatal cocaine exposure was not associated with visual recognition memory, but was significantly associated with longer sustained looking times (average focused attention) at ages 6 months (p = 0.02) and 12 months (p = 0.04) in analyses that adjusted for variables, including maternal intelligence, education, depressive scores and other exposures (alcohol, tobacco and marijuana). Cocaine-exposed infants at age 12 months also spent significantly less time in banging activity (p = 0.02) after adjusting for confounding variables. This finding was not explained through cocaine effects on motor development, neurological findings or time spent in focused attention. Prenatal cocaine exposure was significantly associated with longer periods of sustained looking or focused attention in infancy, a finding that could interpreted as a measure of poor processing efficiency, or alternatively as precocious maturation of attentional systems. Either interpretation has implications for later cognitive development. Lower banging activity among cocaine exposed was not explained through cocaine effects on motor development or neurological findings, suggesting that activity level itself is diminished in these infants. Whether focused attention findings impact long term development awaits further study.
Claudia A Chiriboga; Denise Starr; Louise Kuhn; Gail A Wasserman
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural     Date:  2009-04-17
Journal Detail:
Title:  Developmental neuroscience     Volume:  31     ISSN:  1421-9859     ISO Abbreviation:  Dev. Neurosci.     Publication Date:  2009  
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2009-04-17     Completed Date:  2009-06-16     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  7809375     Medline TA:  Dev Neurosci     Country:  Switzerland    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  149-58     Citation Subset:  IM    
Copyright Information:
2009 S. Karger AG, Basel.
Division of Pediatric Neurology, Department of Neurology, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Analysis of Variance
Attention / drug effects*
Biological Markers
Caregivers / psychology
Child Development / physiology
Cocaine / adverse effects*
Intelligence Tests
Longitudinal Studies
Memory / drug effects
Mental Processes / drug effects*
Neuropsychological Tests
Photic Stimulation
Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / psychology*
Psychomotor Performance / drug effects*
Recognition (Psychology) / drug effects
Grant Support
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Biological Markers; 50-36-2/Cocaine

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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