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Babies exposed to methadone in utero show developmental side effects

Embargoed until: Publicly released:
Peer-reviewed: This work was reviewed and scrutinised by relevant independent experts.

Observational study: A study in which the subject is observed to see if there is a relationship between two or more things (eg: the consumption of diet drinks and obesity). Observational studies cannot prove that one thing causes another, only that they are linked.

People: This is a study based on research using people.

Children exposed to methadone in the womb show significantly poorer attention and were more excitable at two years of age compared to infants who are not exposed, according to Kiwi research.  Replacing opioids with methadone during pregnancy has been shown to reduce usage, but little is known about how the substitute therapy affects child development. The researchers analysed health data from 86 infants born to opioid-dependent women in Christchurch, and say their findings highlight a unique population of children at risk.

Journal/conference: PLOS One

Link to research (DOI): 10.1371/journal.pone.0240905

Organisation/s: University of Auckland, University of Canterbury

Funder: This study was funded by Lottery Health Research (AP91256) https://www.communitymatters.govt.nz/lottery-grants-board/LJW and TAW, Cure Kids New Zealand (# 9518) https://wwwcurekids.org.nz LJW, and The Wayne Francis Charitable Trust https://wfct.org.nz LJW. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

From: PLOS

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