Background: Methamphetamine (MA) use among pregnant women is an increasing problem in the United States. The impact of prenatal MA exposure on development in childhood is unknown.
Objective: To examine the effects of prenatal MA exposure on motor and cognitive development in children at 1, 2, and 3 years of age.
Design/methods: IDEAL enrolled 412 mother-infant pairs at four sites (Tulsa OK, Des Moines IA, Los Angeles CA, and Honolulu HI). MA subjects (n=204) were identified by self report or GC/MS confirmation of amphetamine and metabolites in infant meconium. Comparison subjects (n=208) were matched (race, birth weight, maternal education, and type of insurance), denied amphetamine use, and had a negative meconium screen. Both groups included prenatal alcohol, tobacco and marijuana use, but excluded use of opiates, lysergic acid diethylamide, phencyclidine or cocaine only. The Peabody Developmental Motor Scales (PDMS-2) were administered to the infants at the 1 and 3 year visits. This analysis includes a subsample (n=350) of the IDEAL study with completed 1 and/or 3 year visits (n=330 and 281, respectively). At each annual visit we also conducted the Bayley Scales of Infant Development (BSID-II) as a general evaluation of mental and motor development. The BSID-II analysis includes a subsample (n=356) of the IDEAL study with completed 1, 2, and/or 3 year visits (n=331, 288, and 278 respectively). GLM analysis conducted on the PDMS-2 and BSID-II examined the effects of MA exposure and heavy MA exposure (≥3 days of use/week), with and without covariates. Longitudinal analyses were used to examine the effects of MA exposure on changes in motor and cognitive performance over time.
Results: Heavy MA exposure was associated with significantly lower grasping scores than some and no use at 1 year (P=0.018). In longitudinal analysis, lower grasping scores associated with any MA exposure and heavy exposure persisted to 3 years. There were no effects of MA exposure, including heavy exposure, on the Bayley Mental Development Index (MDI) or Psychomotor Development Index (PDI) at any or across age.
Conclusions: There were no differences in cognition as assessed by the BSID-II between the groups. There was a subtle MA exposure effect on fine motor performance at 1 year with the poorest performance observed in the most heavily exposed children. By 3 years, no differences in fine motor performance were observed. These findings suggest MA exposure has modest motor effects at 1 year that are mostly resolved by 3 years.
Copyright Â© 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.