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Danish Study Links Brain Disorders, Including ADHD, in Children to Their Mothers’ Smoking During Pregnancy

Aug 1, 2005 |

A recent Danish study reports that women who smoke during pregnancy are three times as likely to have babies with birth defects.

Doctors at the Aarhus University in Copenhagen found that smoking during pregnancy exposes the fetus to high levels of nicotine. The nicotine then interferes with the brain receptors for the chemical dopamine, which is essential for brain development.

The author of the study, Dr. Karen Linnet, stated that studies on animals and on first-trimester human pregnancies have showed that nicotine negatively affects the developing brain.

The current research, published in the journal Pediatrics, compares 170 children from different backgrounds who have been diagnosed with hyperactive disorder with 3, 800 children, matched by age, who do not have the disorder.

The results showed that 59% of the afflicted children had mothers who were smokers.  Expectant mothers who smoked were three times as likely to have a child with a hyperactive disorder.

Children with hyperactive disorders suffer from excessive muscular activity, inattention, and impulsive behavior including attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

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