Friday, March 9, 2012

Drugs and Lower Academic Achievement


As more and more studies are conducted regarding the effects of drugs and alcohol on the human fetus, the more we are able to understand what an exposed individual will experience as they grow up. It has long been understood that when pregnant women consume alcohol they put their baby at great risk of defects, anything from fetal alcohol syndrome to academic learning disabilities. Clearly, one might think that exposure to certain drugs would have the same effect, but that is not necessarily the case.

A new study has found that fetal exposure to cocaine, tobacco, or marijuana is not associated with lower academic achievement in children. Sadly, the same cannot be said for alcohol, fetal exposure to alcohol in children does lead to lower scores in math reasoning and spelling at age 11.

The study was conducted by researchers at Boston University which looked at academic achievement scores from 119 low-income 11-year-olds who were part of the prenatal cocaine exposure report, according to HealthDay.

“Study findings suggest the children with histories of even low-level [intrauterine exposure to alcohol] who experience school difficulties should be evaluated particularly for arithmetic skills and depressive symptoms and offered enhanced educational methods [and] interventions tailored to their needs,” study author Ruth Rose-Jacobs said in a university news release.

The study is published in Vulnerable Children and Youth Studies.

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