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Individuals Parentally Exposed To Tobacco Smoke Exhibit Weaker Responses in Some Parts Of The Brain, Study Finds

Update Date: May 15, 2014 09:58 AM EDT

Individuals who are parentally exposed to tobacco smoke, exhibit weaker response in some regions of the brain while processing a task that measures inhibition control - ability to control inappropriate responses - according to a study. 

The study noted that parental tobacco smoke exposure is a risk factor for adverse physical and mental outcomes in the wards. Previously, other researches have also suggested that smoking during pregnancy may increase the risk psychopathology such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). 

Researchers considered 178 mothers and 175 offsprings for whom ADHD symptoms were measured throughout childhood. Out of 178 mothers, 140 were non smokers. 

Functional magnetic resonance imaging was performed at age 25 years on young adults who had been followed since birth to examine the effect of prenatal tobacco smoke exposure on neural activity implicated in externalizing disorders, such as ADHD, with measures of inhibitory control, the press release added. 

Researchers observed that individuals who were parentally exposed to tobacco smoke exhibited less activity in regions of the brain in response to a task that measured inhibitory control vs neutral stimuli. The group was also observed to exhibit more lifetime ADHD symptoms. 

"Therefore, our findings strengthen the importance of smoking cessation programs for pregnant women, and women planning to become pregnant, to minimize prenatal exposure to tobacco smoke by the offspring," researchers wrote. 

The research has been published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

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