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Prenatal meth exposure can cause brain abnormalities in children
The effects of prenatal methamphetamine exposure or a combination of alcohol and methamphetamine may have damaging effects on children, according to a new report.
Researchers from the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) discovered that if a developing foetus is exposed to methamphetamine it can cause damaging brain, cognitive and behavioural problems.
Identifying vulnerable structures in the brain may help predict particular learning and behavioural problems in meth-exposed children.
UCLA professor of neurology Elizabeth Sowell said it is already known that alcohol exposure is toxic to the developing foetus and can result in lifelong problems.
"In this study, we show that the effects of prenatal meth exposure, or the combination of meth and alcohol exposure, may actually be worse, and our findings stress the importance of seeking drug-abuse treatment for pregnant women," she said.
According to Ms Sowell, about half of women who said they used meth during pregnancy also used alcohol.
Last month, new research carried out at Denmark's Aarhus University found that babies of women who take antidepressants during the latter part of pregnancy are slower in reaching some developmental milestones.