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Study: "Crack Babies" Scare Overblown

(AP) - A review of other studies suggests there's actually little proof of major, long-term ill effects in children whose mothers used cocaine during pregnancy.

It's seen as fresh evidence that the 1980s "crack baby" scare was overblown.

Widespread use of crack cocaine in the 1980s led to the scare, when babies born to users sometimes had worrisome symptoms including jitteriness and smaller heads. Studies at the time suggested affected children had irreversible brain damage and predicted dire futures for them.

Researchers say while some studies have linked pregnant women's cocaine use with children's difficulties, the effects were mostly small and may have resulted from other factors.

The researchers reviewed 27 studies involving more than 5,000 11- to 17-year-olds from low-income, mostly black and urban families whose mothers had used crack cocaine while pregnant.

The review, led by University of Maryland researcher Maureen Black, is online in the journal Pediatrics.


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