Vol. 9, No. 1• November 2004

IQ Scores Note Lower in Babies Exposed to Cocaine

Research from Case Western Reserve University in Ohio finds that babies born to mothers who used cocaine heavily during pregnancy do not have lower IQ scores than other children, as originally believed, according to an article in the May 24, 2004 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study found that cocaine-exposed babies do have problems with specific skills. Yet babies placed in foster care or in adoptive homes appeared to overcome even these problems.

“It’s important to dispel the myth of the crack-exposed baby that condemned them to hopeless status,” said lead author Dr. Lynn Singer. “Cocaine-exposed children are not as devastated as preliminary reports proposed, and can benefit from stimulating caregiving environments.”

The study tracked 190 cocaine-exposed children from birth until age four. They were compared to 186 children who were not exposed to the drug. The cocaine-exposed children performed worse on tasks involving visual-spatial skills, such as puzzles, and general knowledge and arithmetic tests. However, the researchers found that both groups of children had similar IQ scores at age four.

Source: Reprinted from Join Together Online (www.jointogether.org) 5/27/2004

Copyright 2004 Jordan Institute for Families