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Your Mama Did This: Kids Born To Smoking Mothers Have Smaller Brains
Your Mama Did This: Kids Born To Smoking Mothers Have Smaller Brains

Scientists have discovered that babies who are born to mothers who smoke during pregnancy have smaller brains and easily become moody and depressed than their peers.

A study was conducted on 200 infants whose parents were regular smokers during pregnancy and found that those babies have smaller brains and are at a greater risk of suffering from stress and anxiety.

Researchers suspect tobacco could affect development by destroying neurons and reducing oxygen to the foetus because of the narrowing of blood vessels.

The study reveals that smoking during pregnancy can have long term effects to a child’s health.

Exposure to cigarettes in the womb is believed to alter brain structure, but little is known about how the organ's development is affected or if the behavioural problems observed are controlled by these differences.

Dr Hanan El Marroun and colleagues assessed the brains and emotional functioning of 113 six to eight year-olds whose mothers smoked from one to nine cigarettes a day during pregnancy. Reports Daily mail

Seventeen stopped when they discovered they were pregnant, while 96 continued throughout.

The results were compared to a control group of 113 children unexposed to cigarettes in the womb.

They showed that those whose mothers continued smoking had smaller brains with less grey and white matter.

They experience deeper emotional problems like depression, symptoms of anxiety and have a smaller superior frontal cortex which specifically which controls mood.

Importantly, brain development of children whose mothers quit during pregnancy displayed no such problems.

The study is published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.


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