Author(s): Gautam P, Warner TD, Kan EC, Sowell ER
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Abstract Small and detrimental, albeit inconsistent, effects of prenatal cocaine exposure (PCE) during early childhood have been reported. The teratogenic effects of prenatal alcohol (PAE) and tobacco exposure (PTE) on neurobehavior are more firmly established than PCE. We tested if co-exposure to all three drugs could be related to greater differences in brain structure than exposure to cocaine alone. Participants (n=42, PCE=27; age range=14-16 years) received an executive function battery prior to a T1-weighted 3T structural MRI scan. Cortical thickness was measured using FreeSurfer (v5.1). Fetal drug exposure was quantified through maternal self-reports usage during pregnancy. Using general linear modeling, we found no main effects of PCE on cortical thickness, but significant main effects of PAE and PTE in superior and medial frontal regions, after co-varying for the effects of age, sex, and each drug of exposure. Significant alcohol-by-tobacco interactions, and significant cocaine-by-alcohol interactions on cortical thickness in medial parietal and temporal regions were also observed. Poly-drug exposure and cognitive function also showed significant interactions with cortical thickness: lower cortical thickness was associated with better performance in PCE-exposed adolescents. Results suggest that although children with PCE have subtle but persistent brain cortical differences until mid-to-late adolescence. Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Dev Cogn Neurosci
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy