Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Child Misbehavior: Prenatal Cocaine Exposure And Chronic Headaches

University of Florida researchers have found that children exposed to crack or powder cocaine in the womb possessed the same disruptive behaviors as other children. Behavioral problems seemed more closely linked to maternal depression. Researchers studied 256 children exposed to cocaine before birth where most of the mothers were poor black and lived in rural areas. A high-number of depression symptoms were found in these women and the mothers tended to report more behavioral problems such as hyperactivity and implusive behaviors in their children. A study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse showed that cocaine-exposed children exhibited minor problem-solving differences in school.

Dr. Tara W. Strine and colleagues at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta published results in the medical journal Pediatrics that severe headaches in childhood are associated with notable pain, mental health issues and functional limitations. Headaches contribute to missed school days, affect children's peer and family relationships, and significantly impact children's quality of life, often times into adulthood.

Children with frequent or severe headaches were 3.5 times more likely to have a high level of emotional symptoms, 2.5 more likely to have conduct problems, 2.6 times more likely to have symptoms of hyperactivity or inattention and 1.7 times more likely to have peer problems. The children were 2.9 times as likely to be upset or distressed and to to have difficulties with home life, friendships, classroom learning, and leisure activities.

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