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Methamphetamine exposure during pregnancy: A meta-analysis of child developmental outcomes

Kunkler, C., Lewis, A.J. and Almeida, R. (2022) Methamphetamine exposure during pregnancy: A meta-analysis of child developmental outcomes. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 138 . Art. 104714.

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This paper examines developmental outcomes for children prenatally exposed to methamphetamine through maternal use. PSYCHINFO, Scopus, PubMed and ERIC databases were systematically searched for studies up to December 2020. The search identified 38 articles examining cognitive, language, motor and neuroanatomical outcomes in children from birth to 16 years. Study quality was appraised using the Newcastle Ottawa Quality Assessment Scale. Findings from neuroanatomical studies suggested that prenatal methamphetamine exposure may alter whole brain microstructure and reduce subcortical volumes across multiple brain regions. Meta-analysis of 14 studies using a random-effects model revealed associations between exposure and poorer intellectual functioning (Cohen’s d = 0.89, 95 % CI: 0.47–1.30), problem solving skills (Cohen’s d = 0.82, 95 % CI: 0.07 −1.56), short-term memory (Cohen’s d = 0.91, 95 % CI: 0.38–1.43), and language development (Cohen’s d = 0.74, 95 % CI: 0.30–1.18). These results emphasise the significant impact of intrauterine methamphetamine exposure across multiple areas of child development, noting that limited total sample size, heterogeneity between studies and control for confounds suggested further studies are required. There is a need for further intervention studies to identify effective prevention and harm minimisation approaches.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Psychology, Counselling, Exercise Science and Chiropractic
Publisher: Elsevier
Copyright: © 2022 Elsevier Ltd.
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