Cocaine Wreaks Subtle Damage on Developing Brains

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Science  03 Oct 1997:
Vol. 278, Issue 5335, pp. 38-39
DOI: 10.1126/science.278.5335.38

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The fears of a decade ago that "crack babies," who had been exposed to cocaine while their mothers were pregnant, would suffer severe, irreversible damage have not been confirmed in several follow-up studies. But now researchers are learning that cocaine leaves its mark on developing brains after all. The latest studies of school-aged children reveal that exposure to cocaine during fetal development may lead to subtle, but significant, deficits later on, especially with behaviors crucial to success in the classroom, such as concentrating for long periods of time and blocking out distractions.