The new Prince of England has arrived so the world news may actually begin to report on stuff like – the news. Baby watch is still in full swing at our house and we’re as ready as we’re going to be.
Since I have “baby” on the mind I was drawn to a July 23rd article in the Kansas City Star. You’ve got to admit the title “‘Crack baby’ study ends with unexpected result” really catches your attention and the findings of the study may peak your interest as well.
A 24 year study of the in-utero effects of cocaine and crack exposure on babies has come to an end and the results didn’t play out as the researchers suspected. The study looked at 224 full term babies half with mothers who used cocaine during pregnancy and half who were not exposed to the drug in utero.
After nearly 25 years of IQ tests, brain MRI’s, developmental exams and personality testing the results showed no marked difference in the development of the two groups. In fact, just as many children from each group had below average IQ, weren’t ready for school at age 6, suffered from depression, had low self-esteem and ended up being drug users themselves.
The researchers found that poverty was a greater predictor of lagging development and decreased intelligence. The children participating in the experiment were more affected by their environment than exposure to drugs in utero. Children being raised in a nurturing home did better than kids in a less nurturing home.
In the end the researchers concluded that poverty is a more powerful influence on the outcome of a child than gestational exposure to cocaine.
There’s no question that drugs, alcohol and cigarettes aren’t good for a baby but this study tends to put to rest the “nature vs. nurture” debate as it relates to in utero exposure.