Smoking in pregnancy tied to lower reading scores

November 19, 2012

Yale School of Medicine researchers have found that children born to mothers who smoked more than one pack per day during pregnancy struggled on tests designed to measure how accurately a child reads aloud and comprehends what they read.

The findings are published in the current issue of The Journal of Pediatrics.

Lead author Jeffrey Gruen, M.D., professor of pediatrics and genetics at Yale School of Medicine, and colleagues analyzed data from more than 5,000 children involved in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC), a large-scale study of 15,211 children from 1990-1992 at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom.

Gruen and his team from Yale and Brock University in Canada, compared performance on seven specific tasks - reading speed, single-word identification, spelling, accuracy, real and non-word reading, and reading comprehension - with maternal cigarette smoking, after adjusting for socioeconomic status, mother-child interactions, and 14 other potential factors.

They found that on average, children exposed to high levels of nicotine in utero -- defined as the minimum amount in one pack of cigarettes per day -- scored 21 percent lower in these areas than classmates born to non-smoking mothers. The children were tested at age seven and again at age nine.

Among students who share similar backgrounds and education, a child of a smoking mother will, on average, be ranked seven places lower in a class of 31 in reading accuracy and comprehension ability.

"It's not a little difference -- it's a big difference in accuracy and comprehension at a critical time when children are being assessed, and are getting a sense of what it means to be successful," said Gruen, who also points out that the effects of smoking in pregnancy are especially pronounced in children with an underlying phonological (i.e., speech) deficit, suggesting an interaction between an environmental exposure (smoking) and a highly heritable trait (phonological ability).

"The interaction between nicotine exposure and phonology suggests a significant gene-by-environment interaction, making children with an underlying phonological deficit particularly vulnerable," he said.
-end-
Other authors on the study include Kelly Cho, Jan C. Frijters, Heping Zhang, and Laura L. Miller.

The study was funded by The UK Medical Research Council; the Wellcome Trust; the National Institutes of Health R01NS43530 (J.R.G.), R01DA016750 (H.Z.) and T32 MH014235 (K.C.); and the University of Bristol provided core support for ALSPAC.

Citation: Journal of Pediatrics doi:10.1016/j.jpeds.2012.09.041 http://www.jpeds.com/article/S0022-3476(12)01133-X/abstract

Yale University

Related Smoking Articles from Brightsurf:

Smoking rates falling in adults, but stroke survivors' smoking rates remain steady
While the rate of Americans who smoke tobacco has fallen steadily over the last two decades, the rate of stroke survivors who smoke has not changed significantly.

What is your risk from smoking? Your network knows!
A new study from researchers at Penn's Annenberg School for Communication found that most people, smokers and non-smokers alike, were nowhere near accurate in their answers to questions about smoking's health effects.

Want to quit smoking? Partner up
Kicking the habit works best in pairs. That's the main message of a study presented today at EuroPrevent 2019, a scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

Smoking and mortality in Asia
In this analysis of data from 20 studies conducted in China, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and India with more than 1 million participants, deaths associated with smoking continued to increase among men in Asia grouped by the years in which they were born.

Predictors of successfully quitting smoking among smokers registered at the quit smoking clinic at a public hospital in northeastern Malaysia
In the current issue of Family Medicine and Community Health, Nur Izzati Mohammad et al. consider how cigarette smoking is one of the risk factors leading to noncommunicable diseases such as cardiovascular and respiratory system diseases and cancer.

Restaurant and bar smoking bans do reduce smoking, especially among the highly educated
Smoking risk drops significantly in college graduates when they live near areas that have completely banned smoking in bars and restaurants, according to a new study in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

How the UK smoking ban increased wellbeing
Married women with children reported the largest increase in well-being following the smoking bans in the UK in 2006 and 2007 but there was no comparable increase for married men with children.

Smoking study personalizes treatment
A simple blood test is allowing Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) researchers to determine which patients should be prescribed varenicline (Chantix) to stop smoking and which patients could do just as well, and avoid side effects, by using a nicotine patch.

A biophysical smoking gun
While much about Alzheimer's disease remains a mystery, scientists do know that part of the disease's progression involves a normal protein called tau, aggregating to form ropelike inclusions within brain cells that eventually strangle the neurons.

A case where smoking helped
A mutation in the hemoglobin of a young woman in Germany was found to cause her mild anemia.

Read More: Smoking News and Smoking Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.