Marijuana for morning sickness? It’s not great for baby’s brain

With a growing number of states legalizing recreational or medical marijuana, more women are using the drug during pregnancy, in part due to its reported ability to relieve morning sickness. A new study, conducted in rats, sheds light on how cannabis exposure affects the brain of a developing fetus.

Previous research has shown children born to mothers who used marijuana during pregnancy are more likely to develop behavioral problems as well as learning and memory impairments. The new research offers further confirmation on those findings and pinpoints how the drug alters the intricate connections in nerves in the hippocampus, the brain’s center for learning and memory. Understanding exactly how marijuana affects these brain connections could one day lead to interventions to reduce the damage, researchers say.

“The findings from this study will serve as an excellent premise for future interventions to restore memory in children exposed to cannabis during pregnancy, and for the first time, identify a specific mechanism by which learning and memory impairment occurs and how this impairment can be ameliorated,” said Priyanka Das Pinky, a graduate student in the laboratory of Vishnu Suppiramaniam, PhD, acting associate dean for research and graduate programs at Auburn University.

Full story at Science Daily

New mothers reduce their alcohol intake, but this change is short-lived

Most women dramatically reduce their alcohol intake on learning they are pregnant, but by the time their child is five they are back to their pre-pregnancy drinking levels, a new international study has found.

The research, led by the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, reported little change in the drinking patterns of men on becoming fathers.

The paper, ‘Alcohol and parenthood: an integrative analysis of the effects of transition to parenthood in three Australasian cohorts’ is published in the latest edition of Drug and Alcohol Dependence journal.

Full story at Science Daily

Higher rates of NAS linked with economic conditions

A NIDA-funded analysis of eight states showed a significant association between rates of neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) and poor economic conditions. NAS is a series of uncomfortable symptoms experienced by newborns suffering from opioid withdrawal after their mothers used opioids during their pregnancies.

The study used data from all 580 counties in Florida, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee and Washington state from 2009-2015. Investigators cross checked economic data with NAS cases from both rural and metropolitan areas. Economic data included 10-year unemployment rates, and health data included counties designated as mental health clinician shortage areas.

Full story at drugabuse.org

More pregnant women are using meth and opioids, study finds

Amphetamine and opioid use in pregnancy increased substantially over the last decade in the United States, a new Michigan Medicine-led study finds. And a disproportionate rise occurred in rural counties.

Among pregnant women in all parts of the country, amphetamine-affected births (mostly attributed to methamphetamine) doubled — from 1.2 per 1,000 hospitalizations in 2008-2009 to 2.4 per 1,000 delivery hospitalizations by 2014-2015, the new research finds.

The rate of opioid use also quadrupled from 1.5 per 1,000 delivery hospitalizations in 2004-2005 to 6.5 per 1,000 delivery hospitalizations in 2014-2015, according to the findings published in the American Journal of Public Health. The study sample included about 47 million deliveries occurring in U.S. hospitals over the 12-year-period.

Full story at Science Daily

Is it safe to use marijuana while breastfeeding?

Some women use marijuana to manage the side effects of pregnancy, to cope with anxiety, or to sleep better. Many also hope they can safely do so while breastfeeding.

According to 2017 research carried out on a group of pregnant women in California, about 7 percent of the women surveyed used marijuana. Research suggests that marijuana can get into breast milk, which means that it may not be safe to use while breastfeeding.

However, little research is available, and much of the research that does exist is incomplete, poorly designed, or very outdated. In this article, learn about whether it is safe to use marijuana while breastfeeding, as well as about the possible risks for the baby.

Full story at Medical News Today