Fetal cocaine exposure is believed to affect neurodevelopment and cognitive
outcomes, but prior studies of exposed children have yielded inconsistent
results. Singer and colleagues assessed the association between prenatal cocaine
exposure and the quality of the caregiving environment on cognitive outcomes
in a longitudinal, case-control study with follow-up through 4 years of age.
The authors found that exposed and nonexposed children had equivalent full-scale,
performance, and summary verbal IQ scores, but prenatal cocaine exposure was
related to lower scores on several IQ subscales and to a lower likelihood
of above average IQ. The quality of the home environment was an important
contributing factor. Cocaine-exposed children who lived in a more stimulating
environment had cognitive scores equivalent to nonexposed children.