Washington: 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, according to Yale School of Medicine researchers.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 socio-economic 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.
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