Maternal Methamphetamine use in Pregnancy and Long-Term Neurodevelopmental and Behavioral Deficits in Children

Main Article Content

Jessie van Dyk
Veruschka Ramanjam
Paige Church
Gideon Koren
Kirsten Donald

Keywords

Prenatal exposure, methamphetamine, neurodevelopment, behavior

Abstract

Aim


To describe neurodevelopmental and/or behavioral findings among a cohort of South African children exposed to maternal methamphetamine (MA) use during pregnancy.


Methods


Developmental assessment s with the Griffiths Mental Developmental Scales (GMDS) were completed on a pilot cohort of 15 toddlers aged 2 - 4 years with a known history of maternal MA use during pregnancy. These were compared to a matched cohort of 21 toddlers without a history of maternal MA use. Each child underwent formal auditory testing and vision screen . The Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) was completed by a parent or caregiver. Cohorts were matched for age, gestational age at birth, socio-economic status and geographic distribution.


Results


Baseline characteristics were similar between the two groups. Most significant areas of poorer performance on GMDS in the Methamphetamine - exposed cohort was noted on the Personal - Social Ability Subscale (p<0.0001) and on the Hand and Eye Co-ordination Subscale (p=0.0002) , while lower scores were also obtained on General Quotients (p=0.022) . There were also significant concerns regarding aggressive behavior and attention deficit/hyperactivity on the CBCL for the exp osed group, although this did not reach statistical significance.


Conclusion


Among children exposed to maternal MA use during pregnancy, specific developmental and behavioral deficits were increased when compared to controls. This correlates well with available literature. Larger sample sizes would help further support these findings and more definitively distinguish behavioral deficits .

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