Maternal smoking tied to inhibition-related brain differences in kids

Posted By: Staff | May 15 2014

Smoking while pregnant may be linked to less control over inhibitions when the child is an adult, a new study that looked at brain scans suggests.

People whose mothers smoked during pregnancy had weaker responses in the regions of their brains known to be involved in inhibition control, compared to those whose mothers didn’t smoke, researchers found.

Inhibition control relates to how people keep their impulses in check and resist distractions in certain situations.

The brains of the 38 young adults with mothers who smoked during pregnancy didn’t show as much of a response in the areas that are important to inhibition control as those of the 140 people with non-smoking mothers.

The results remained the same when the researchers accounted for other factors, such as parents’ smoking habits after birth and children’s sex, psychological problems and substance abuse.

What’s more, the young adults whose mothers smoked during pregnancy exhibited more ADHD symptoms between ages two and 15, compared to those whose mothers didn’t smoke.

View on Reuters Health - Andrew M. Seaman »
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