Study examines prenatal exposure to tobacco smoke on inhibition control

May 14, 2014

Individuals prenatally exposed to tobacco smoke exhibited weaker response in some regions of the brain while processing a task that measures inhibition control (the ability to control inappropriate responses).

Prenatal tobacco smoke exposure is a risk factor for adverse physical and mental outcomes in children. Growing evidence suggests that smoking during pregnancy may increase the risk of psychopathology such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Research on ADHD has suggested that individuals with the disorder may exhibit poor inhibitory control.

Functional magnetic resonance imaging was performed at age 25 years on young adults who had been followed since birth to examine the effect of prenatal on neural activity implicated in externalizing disorders, such as ADHD, with measures of inhibitory control. Lifetime ADHD symptoms were measured over a period of 13 years (from 2 to 15 years of age). The study included 178 mothers (140 of whom were nonsmokers) and 175 offspring for whom ADHD symptoms were measured throughout childhood.

Individuals prenatally exposed to tobacco smoke exhibited less activity in regions of the brain in response to a task that measured vs. neutral stimuli. The group prenatally exposed to tobacco smoke also exhibited more lifetime ADHD symptoms.

"Therefore, our findings strengthen the importance of smoking cessation programs for pregnant women, and women planning to become pregnant, to minimize to by the offspring," Nathalie E. Holz, M.A., of Mannheim/Heidelberg University, Germany, and colleagues wrote in their JAMA Phychiatry paper.

Explore further: Smoking during pregnancy may increase risk of bipolar disorder in offspring

More information: JAMA Psychiatry. Published online May 14, 2014. DOI: 10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2014.343

Related Stories

Study correlates ADHD and secondhand smoke

December 6, 2013

(Medical Xpress)—Duke Medicine has established a new research program to investigate the relationship between exposure to environmental tobacco smoke during pregnancy and childhood and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ...

ADHD treatment associated with lower smoking rates

May 12, 2014

Treating attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) with stimulant medication may reduce smoking risk, especially when medication is taken consistently, according to an analysis led by researchers at Duke Medicine.

Recommended for you

Women and men react differently to infidelity

October 8, 2015

If your partner has sex with someone else, it is considered infidelity - even if no emotions are involved. But it is also considered infidelity when your significant other develops a close personal relationship with someone ...

Repeating aloud to another person boosts recall

October 6, 2015

Repeating aloud boosts verbal memory, especially when you do it while addressing another person, says Professor Victor Boucher of the University of Montreal's Department of Linguistics and Translation. His findings are the ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.