Maternal Smoking - important risk factor in the development of psychotic experiences in their children..

October 2, 2009 - Researchers observed an association between maternal, but not paternal, smoking during pregnancy and risk of psychotic symptoms in their offspring (children), consistent with accumulating evidence from animal models of adverse effects on brain development from in utero nicotine exposure.
Nicotine has a negative impact on the developing adolescent brain..; Nicotine – in any form – not safe..

These findings suggest that risk factors for development of non-clinical psychotic experiences may operate during early development.

Researchers from Cardiff, Bristol, Nottingham and Warwick Universities studied 6,356 12-year-olds from the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children. All the children completed an interview for psychotic-like symptoms, such as hallucinations or delusions. Just over 11% of the children (734) had suspected or definite symptoms of psychosis.

The researchers observed a 'dose-response effect', meaning that the risk of psychotic symptoms was highest in the children whose mothers smoked the most heavily during pregnancy.

Future studies of how in utero exposure to tobacco affects cerebral development and function may lead to increased understanding of the pathogenesis of psychotic phenomena.

t is estimated that between 15 and 20 per cent of women in the UK continue to smoke during their pregnancy.

Dr Stanley Zammit, the lead author of the study, "In our cohort, approximately 19 percent of adolescents who were interviewed had mothers who smoked during pregnancy. If our results are non-biased and reflect a causal relationship, we can estimate that about 20 percent of adolescents in this cohort would not have developed psychotic symptoms if their mothers had not smoked. Therefore, maternal smoking may be an important risk factor in the development of psychotic experiences in the population."

PAPER: Maternal tobacco, cannabis and alcohol use during pregnancy and risk of adolescent psychotic symptoms in offspring. Stanley Zammit, PhD ( Kate Thomas, BSc MSc Andrew Thompson, MA, MMedSci, MRCPsych Jeremy Horwood, BSc Paulo Menezes, PhD David Gunnell, PhD Chris Hollis, PhD DCH MRCPsych Dieter Wolke, Dip (Psych) PhD Glyn Lewis, PhD and Glynn Harrison, MD FRCPsych, The British Journal of Psychiatry (2009) 195: 294-300, Abstract & Full Text...

Reference: Smoking During Pregnancy Puts Children At Risk Of Psychotic Symptoms, Science Daily, October 1, 2009.

Additional papers: Neurotoxic effects of prenatal tobacco exposure on newborn neurobehavior; Smoking While
Pregnant or Breastfeeding The Impact of Nicotine, Smoking and Tobacco