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Prenatal Glucocorticoid Exposure Seen to Affect Childhood Mental Health — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
November 25, 2013

Prenatal Glucocorticoid Exposure Seen to Affect Childhood Mental Health

By Joe Elia

Children whose mothers received synthetic glucocorticoids during pregnancy show adverse mental health effects in childhood and adolescence, a PLoS One study finds.

Researchers in Finland did a chart review of a 1985-86 birth cohort to locate 37 children exposed prenatally either to dexamethasone or betamethasone; these children were matched with nonexposed controls. At ages 8 and 16, teacher and parent evaluations measured neurotic, antisocial, and inattention-hyperactivity behaviors.

After adjustment for confounding factors, including gestational age, exposed children showed significantly higher rates of mental health disorders. Exposed adolescents also showed higher rates, but because of the smaller sample size available by age 16, those results did not achieve statistical significance.

Reader Comments (1)

R Stephen Hillis M.D. Physician, Urology, Tyler, TX

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