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: Mothers' second-hand smoke exposure linked to psychological problems for kids

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

Related Stories

Exposure to lead, tobacco smoke raises risk of ADHD

November 23, 2009

Children exposed prenatally to tobacco smoke and during childhood to lead face a particularly high risk for ADHD, according to research done at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

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

Psychosis associated with low levels of physical activity

August 25, 2016

A large international study of more than 200,000 people in nearly 50 countries has revealed that people with psychosis engage in low levels of physical activity, and men with psychosis are over two times more likely to miss ...

0 comments

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.